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Peter T Chattaway

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

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I just think there's enough real stink to the whole thing without ladling on imagined stink.

That's fair enough... it's just getting hard to distinguish between the two.

Edited by theoddone33

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I just think there's enough real stink to the whole thing without ladling on imagined stink.

That's fair enough... it's just getting hard to distinguish between the two.

Ain't that the truth? And as my gramma once told me (actually, she didn't): If ya wanna keep a skin from forming on the pudding, ya gotta keep stirring the pot.

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I dunno about him winning the thread.

I did not mean "Wright wins all debates in this thread." I just meant he scored the line that made me laugh, and so I'll remember it.

whysoserious2.jpg

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At some point, you can give the filmmakers some leeway, simply because--from what I can gather from IMDB--none of them are journalists or have any experience in documentary filmmaking. So they might not even know what their ethical obligations to their subjects and to their audience might be.

(The director's most prominent prior credit is on the network tv dramatization from 2004 called "The Path To 9/11," which was roundly criticized for being factually-challenged.)

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At some point, you can give the filmmakers some leeway...

At the same time, "What were you thinking?" springs to mind, too. Experience has got to count for something if you decide to take on a topic like this. Simply being well-funded and well-connected isn't going to take care of the details for you.

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Holy Moly! wrote:

: The director's most prominent prior credit is on the network tv dramatization from 2004 called "The Path To 9/11," . . .

Technically true, but just to be clear: He was not the director on that film. He was, rather, the SECOND UNIT director -- both on that film and on After..., both of which were actually DIRECTED by David L. Cunningham, the son of YWAM founders Loren and Darlene Cunningham, whose credits include To End All Wars, Little House on the Prairie and The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising.

FWIW, After... was (co-?)written by Kevin Miller, who also co-wrote Expelled.

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Holy Moly! wrote:

: There does seem to be a pattern emerging, though. There is speculation that the new strategy to keep out the unfriendlies is to lie and tell them that the screening has been canceled.

I really, really wish everyone commenting on that post would stop going on and on about the night-vision goggles. That is SUCH a non-issue. As PZ Myers himself indicates, they are pretty standard at preview screenings across the industry. The fact that the Expelled people use them too is no particular indication of religious paranoia. In fact, it just may be the only thing about this film's marketing and promotion that DOES match standard industry protocol.

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Actually, I was responding to the logic of your sheer conjecture about how you felt Mathis' version of event was plausible based on what you knew of the inudstry. :)

No, you're beating a dead, biased horse.

This strikes me as decently hypocritical. You have the right to point out that something seems reasonable, given what you know. But there's something suspicious or illegitimate about me pointing out a whole bunch of other things that bear on your own speculative judgments? If you want to lecture others on speculation, then why offer your own speculative judgments about what is or isn't a reasonable explanation?

Here's a another tiny bit: according to Stein in his interview with Calvinist minister Sproul, about 20 minutes in, producer Ruloff approached him "2 or 3 years" ago and told him all about Intelligent Design, how "Darwinism" has lots and lots of gaps, at which point Stein agreed that if evolution were true, then "Hitler was right" and life has no moral significance (a view which which, if I can say, belies nothing less than utter moral nihilism on Stein's part, regardless of the existence of God). This apparently excited the producers.

http://heartofflesh.wordpress.com/2008/04/...n/#comment-1145

Here's Logan Craft discussing the formation of Premise:

http://www.sbtexan.com/default.asp?action=...;issue=2/4/2008

In he talks about how Ruloff wrote a treatment of a screenplay for the film (an odd thing to do for a documentary that later claimed to merely be merely exploring some issues and only later came to its core themes) and how he and Ruloff determined that it would be best if they could get someone who wasn't "overtly Christian," after which they hit upon Stein, who was "excited because he began to see a connection between our exploration and sanctity of life issues. He

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I really, really wish everyone commenting on that post would stop going on and on about the night-vision goggles. That is SUCH a non-issue. As PZ Myers himself indicates, they are pretty standard at preview screenings across the industry. The fact that the Expelled people use them too is no particular indication of religious paranoia. In fact, it just may be the only thing about this film's marketing and promotion that DOES match standard industry protocol.

I remember seeing them used by security guards for the first time at the Return of the King press screening. And it was a good thing they had them; someone tried to disrupt the screening with a laser pointer, and a red dot started darting around the screening during the big scene with the elephants...

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you would like me to withhold judgment on the question of whether the producers came into this project with a huge chip on their shoulder

Nope. Not at all. Never said it, implied it, or suggested it. So please don't conflate that with:

and an agenda which they concealed from their interviewees.

The jury remains out on that score pending further evidence. But I'm not asking anyone to believe that they didn't, either. I simply don't presume Mathis is lying.

You say there simply isn't any evidence of deception.

Did I? Where? What I said is that evidence of deception is not the same as proof of intent to deceive. It's the latter that we call "lying."

What I've said about you, for comparison, is that you're evidently biased. But I don't jump from there to claiming that you're lying to people, or even deliberately misrepresenting facts. Your bias, however, does lead you to spin facts. And you don't like it when I pin you down to what the facts actually are.

people's words, and the contradictions we find in them, is the only means we have to illuminate deception.

Even though I could argue that point with you rather pointlessly, I'll just go with it for the sake of argument and let folks who are reading this thread look at the actual words you and I have said and decide for themselves who's spinning and who's not -- see for themselves what I actually say, and what you misattribute to me, and what you think I'm "apparently" trying to do. And then they can decide who's the better spin doctor, you or Mathis.

I've published thousands of words about this film over at Hollywood Jesus, and I call "b.s" on anything I find; and curiously, I never find you calling "b.s." on any of the b.s. coming out of your camp, either here or at your blog.

its fair enough for me to say that there is no evidence on record of them doing so

Yes, indeed; and no quibble there. But you just can't stop there, can you? Why is that, Bad? Why are you so uncomfortable with me simply wanting to bring the conversation back to the actual facts?

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Some interesting further discussion is developing at Mark Shea's blog.

Ouch. Maybe it's a little late and I'm (definitely) tired, but that reading that mess gave me a headache. Gads. Please remind me never to go back to that page again.

I used the opportunity to link over to your page, Jeff, and read your new post on spirituality versus religion, along with the linked posts, and found it far more interesting. I'm not sure the frazzled brain is up to this right now (going thru the final prep before heading out to the Grand Canyon - we scored permits to descend into the Canyon for a week and I'm getting my gear and photo equipment ready), but here is a quick comment:

My take is that spirituality is a necessary component of religion, but religion is not a necessary component of spirituality. Religion, to this addled mind, is comprised of a set of behaviors (ie: rules, dogma, etc.) built around a specific deity. Yes, this almost always contains a strong moral component. However, morality is not a direct cognizant functional part of religion, although religion has been, by far, the most common form of transmission of moral codes and is very effective at it. Spirituality, on the other hand, seems more a state or condition of mind, one which tends to open the door to accepting a religion of one sort or another, but can also manifest itself in less structured ways.

I consider myself a spiritual person. I do not follow any particular religion (raised catholic/christian, current status 'hopelessly lapsed'). I view all religions from the same anthropological angle: interesting functional social concept/developement. I still maintain a pretty normal set of morals that are based on a combination of 'norms' defined by the society I live in colored by my personal evaluation of certain aspects of them. What is 'moral' is a topic, large and wide, all by itself, one which has occupied greater minds than ours for quite some time with no hard, fast answer. I profess no knowledge or belief as to the nature of god or if their even is one. My 'base set' for my spirituality is the constant state of wonder that the world and the universe instill in me (I'm an amateur astronomer). The base set for god, to my mind, is the universe itself, encompassing the laws that govern it and the resulting existence around us, in the Einsteinian sense.

Hmmm. That came out longer than I expected, but that seems pretty close to the idea for me. Make sense?

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Well, I did like the "Live by Street Theatre, die by Street Theatre" line.

I think you'll find God in the Canyon. Two of the most holy weeks I've spent in my life have been on the river in there.

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Well, I did like the "Live by Street Theatre, die by Street Theatre" line.

I think you'll find God in the Canyon. Two of the most holy weeks I've spent in my life have been on the river in there.

Greg,

Yes, I liked that line too - about the only thing worth the visit. I found another in a totally unrelated newspaper article that you will probably like as well, to quote:

"Then he got specific and all reason helicoptered into the ether." :lol:

I've never been to the Grand Canyon before and this is going to be a seriously concentrated in-your-face dose. Descending on foot to the bottom, 5 days exploring, then climbing out - fully self contained, self supported trip with four climbing friends. I expect the experience will be similar to our winter mountaineering trips in the 'meet the face of god ' sense (metaphorically speaking of course!). Nothing quite like the winter mountains for that sort of thing.

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I've never been to the Grand Canyon before and this is going to be a seriously concentrated in-your-face dose. Descending on foot to the bottom, 5 days exploring, then climbing out - fully self contained, self supported trip with four climbing friends. I expect the experience will be similar to our winter mountaineering trips in the 'meet the face of god ' sense (metaphorically speaking of course!). Nothing quite like the winter mountains for that sort of thing.

You're a climber, eh? Now you're talking my language.

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Scientific American has published a feature, comprising a series of reviews, audio recordings of an hour-long interview with Mathis, etc.

It seems to be a fair, clearheaded, comprehensive debunking; very firm but always respectful. I especially recommend the recording of the interview.

Favorite moment: Mathis is asked if he will stand by his film's account of the dover decision as a truthful depiction of what happened. He says yes. Then he's asked to explain how the court actually ruled. He can't do it!

Other favorite moment: he explains the reason that the film omits all mention of the many Christians who have no problem with evolutionary theory: "it would complicate the film!" Heaven forbid!

Edited by Holy Moly!

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Just a quick visit before departure...

You're a climber, eh? Now you're talking my language.

Jeff,

Very much so. Generally a lover of the outdoors in general, along with pretty much all the natural sciences. I received my winter mountaineering training from Mark Chauvin, of Chauvin International Mountain Guides a while back. I also canoe, kayak, backpack, hike, etc., etc., etc. I like to take pictures while doing all the above:

http://tinyurl.com/5nflr5

Just another busy beaver! ;)

Holy Moly:

Yes, there seems to be much more popping all of a sudden. The Fox review panning the movie was a bit of a surprise, given what one usually expects of the source. The distribution report was certainly telling. It explains why I could not locate a showing anywhere around here (NYC). The Scientific American site has a bunch of fresh material, including reviews, articles and podcast interviews with various people, including Mathis.

Breaking news seems to be the suspected copyright infringement of the cgi sections of the movie. I'm not sure if this is real or not, but it is beginning to circulate around the web. I do recall that some viewers made commented on the resemblence of that part of the movie to an earlier (Cornell?) film. There may be some hasty editing in the near future...

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The best line I've heard yet in these debates comes at the end of this quote:

More dishonestly, Stein employs the common dodge of enumerating all the admittedly unanswered questions in evolutionary theory and using this to refute the whole idea. But all scientific knowledge is built this way. A fishnet is made up of a lot more holes than strings, but you can't therefore argue that the net doesn't exist. Just ask the fish.

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Look Greg, I don't particular want to fight with you, because you seem like a nice guy. I'm just a little peeved that you called me to account for giving my opinion as if this was something illegitimate or conniving on my part. You made an assertion about whether something was reasonable based on your perception of things. If you're going to do that, then think that noting a whole bunch of other relevant issues and facts is perfectly warranted.

Yes, indeed; and no quibble there. But you just can't stop there, can you? Why is that, Bad? Why are you so uncomfortable with me simply wanting to bring the conversation back to the actual facts?

I'm not. Why are you so uncomfortable with me laying out a set of facts and showing how they run against the claims of the producers?

Mathis was polite and even flattering to Dawkins prior and during the interview process. He knew all about who Dawkins was and what Dawkins' opinions were already. He now calls Dawkins things like "Herr Dawkins" and has obvious disdain for the man. Those are facts. Aren't they worth at least mentioning or considering when you decide what a reasonable explanation for something is and what isn't?

The jury remains out on that score pending further evidence. But I'm not asking anyone to believe that they didn't, either. I simply don't presume Mathis is lying.

This is a nonsensical false dichotomy. We don't need to simply "presume" that someone is lying to build a case that they have been deceptive based on what they've said vs. relevant facts.

It's strange that you should mention juries though, who are asked to make determinations of honesty and reliability and judge matters of fact all the time on far scantier a record that we are covering here.

curiously, I never find you calling "b.s." on any of the b.s. coming out of your camp, either here or at your blog.

"I never find" would imply that you've looked. And if you'd looked, you would have noticed examples to the contrary of what you're claiming here. I can only assume that you haven't really looked, or looked hard enough. Who was telling people that a bad FoxNews review does not have any of the political connotations they assume it did, for instance?

If you could cite some particular b.s. that comes to mind though, I'd be happy to give my opinion on it.

I'm at a loss as to how you could ever call anything "b.s." though: did you get a signed affidavit by the bs'er attesting that they had, in fact, bs'ed? :)

And by the way, what do you think of Mathis explanation that the many religious people who have no problem with evolution, including the Catholic Church, aren't featured in the film because they would have "unnecessarily confused" things? Do you agree that the existence of large numbers of people who share all sorts of religious worldviews who think evolutionary science is reasonable and Intelligent Design is unscientific and intellectually vacuous are sort of a very necessary complication to a film that makes the case that evolution is "Darwinism" and a distinctively atheistic "worldview?" Or his implications about the sincerity or legitimacy of these people's religious beliefs.

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Look Greg, I don't particular want to fight with you, because you seem like a nice guy.

Well, that's good -- because you seem like a pretty nice guy, too -- and I actually think you've done a pretty nice job of putting your blog together and building an audience.

I'm just a little peeved that you called me to account for giving my opinion as if this was something illegitimate or conniving on my part. You made an assertion about whether something was reasonable based on your perception of things. If you're going to do that, then think that noting a whole bunch of other relevant issues and facts is perfectly warranted.

Well, just as a reminder, this exchange specifically originated over the Crossroad/Expelled titling "deception." That's what I'm calling you to account over; and I've used patterns of behavior to question your assertions -- and they have been presented as assertions, not just as mere opinions -- and try to get you to understand how your biases are clouding your judgment and damaging your credibility.

Why are you so uncomfortable with me laying out a set of facts and showing how they run against the claims of the producers?

I'm not, and you know I'm not, because you've followed what I've written at Hollywood Jesus. You know I'm engaged in doing the same thing -- for both sides, not just for one. But jumping from showing how facts "run against the claims" to unilateral proof of intent to deceive is another thing entirely. And a general pattern doesn't prove the case for the specific issue in question. You still need certain facts to claim "lie" -- facts which you don't have.

Mathis... now calls Dawkins things like "Herr Dawkins" and has obvious disdain for the man. Those are facts. Aren't they worth at least mentioning or considering when you decide what a reasonable explanation for something is and what isn't?
Absolutely. And I've mentioned those facts. And Mathis comes off like a petulant child when he does that. But Dawkins and Myers have engaged in the same childish repartee, too. Does that make everything they say deceptive, too? No. We have to examine claims on a case-by-case basis against available facts.

We don't need to simply "presume" that someone is lying to build a case that they have been deceptive based on what they've said vs. relevant facts.

Of course we don't; and I didn't even suggest that, much less say it. If you can't say that your presumption of guilt on Mathis' part is clouding your judgment, I can only tell you that it's obvious to others.

It's strange that you should mention juries though, who are asked to make determinations of honesty and reliability and judge matters of fact all the time on far scantier a record that we are covering here.

You're conflating juries on civil cases (preponderance of evidence) with criminal cases (beyond a reasonable doubt); and even then, your analogy is rather debatable.

"I never find" would imply that you've looked.

Only to someone who presupposed that I've never looked. Don't you see how you leap from presumption to conclusion?

I get fed every post that you and every post a host of other blogs make; and I go through them all. That's part of what I do in harvesting the news. Now, granted, over the last few days I've noticed less disdainful rhetoric in your posts, and I was actually thinking of sending you an email praising you for that.

Now, I will grant that I have not explored every nook and cranny of your site, and I certainly haven't tried to plow through all the comments over there (and there are a lot of them!), but I haven't seen you run any articles talking about MacNeill's false claim about Provine being cut from the film, or MacNeill's false attribution of the "No Darwin, No Hitler" quote to Stein, or the various inaccuracies in the statements from Dawkins and Myers in the wake of Minneapolis incident. More telling, I have seen no effort on your part to advocate a reasoned, measured response to any of the new developments related to Expelled. You give no one from the Expelled camp the benefit of the doubt, while Expelled detractors get a free pass on every incorrect claim they make.

Now, if I'm wrong there, I'd certainly welcome correction and offer a complete and humble apology.

Who was telling people that a bad FoxNews review does not have any of the political connotations they assume it did, for instance?

Oh, really; they hardly represent the filmmakers, do they? Throw a bone to the publishers of negative review. Very generous.

I'm at a loss as to how you could ever call anything "b.s." though

Hard evidence goes a long way. You know, like: Provine is actually in the film.

what do you think of Mathis explanation that the many religious people who have no problem with evolution...

Oh, that's completely lame, of course. No argument on that. But again, that kind of thing has no bearing on unrelated claims.

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Well, just as a reminder, this exchange specifically originated over the Crossroad/Expelled titling "deception." That's what I'm calling you to account over; and I've used patterns of behavior to question your assertions -- and they have been presented as assertions, not just as mere opinions -- and try to get you to understand how your biases are clouding your judgment and damaging your credibility.

Well, I simply don't agree that because I think there's more than enough reason to think that they were deceptive that I'm "damaging my credibility. I'm not a journalist: I can come to conclusions. If you have a different standard related to your profession, then I accept that, and retract and apologize for the "but apparently Greg wants us to believe..." rhetoric. But different standards in different contexts still not a good reason to attack my judgment.

But jumping from showing how facts "run against the claims" to unilateral proof of intent to deceive is another thing entirely.

When did I claim I had "unilateral proof?"

And a general pattern doesn't prove the case for the specific issue in question. You still need certain facts to claim "lie" -- facts which you don't have.

Again, I disagree. I think the facts we have are more than enough to form a reasonable judgment. If you need more to convince you, then fine. You probably have a far better chance of getting straight answers from the producers than I do: or at the very least, you have a lot more access to them then I do. So nail down the facts you need to sufficiently say one way or the other. What better way to show how hasty my conclusions are than with making an actual convincing counterargument with some new contradicting facts, rather than merely attacking me for having already concluded something based on what we have so far?

Mathis... now calls Dawkins things like "Herr Dawkins" and has obvious disdain for the man. Those are facts. Aren't they worth at least mentioning or considering when you decide what a reasonable explanation for something is and what isn't?
Absolutely. And I've mentioned those facts. And Mathis comes off like a petulant child when he does that. But Dawkins and Myers have engaged in the same childish repartee, too. Does that make everything they say deceptive, too? No.

That makes no sense. Sure, PZ and Dawkins are nasty. But they never pretended to think highly of ID proponents in the first place, which is a key element in this particular deception. And why did pretty much every single scientist and pro-evolution person they interveiwed end up feeling decieved?

We don't need to simply "presume" that someone is lying to build a case that they have been deceptive based on what they've said vs. relevant facts.

Of course we don't; and I didn't even suggest that, much less say it.

Now this is sort of confusing. Here's how I see things:

1) you say: "The jury remains out on that score pending further evidence. But I'm not asking anyone to believe that they didn't, either. I simply don't presume Mathis is lying." In context, this implies that this is what I'm doing, contrary to you.

2) I complain about the percieved implication.

3) You say "I didn't even suggest that, much less say it."

4) and then you say "If you can't say that your presumption of guilt on Mathis' part is clouding your judgment, I can only tell you that it's obvious to others. " Which yet again implies that I have a presumption instead of a conclusion.

So you tell me, are you suggesting that about me or not? I honestly can't tell at this point.

It's strange that you should mention juries though, who are asked to make determinations of honesty and reliability and judge matters of fact all the time on far scantier a record that we are covering here.

You're conflating juries on civil cases (preponderance of evidence) with criminal cases (beyond a reasonable doubt); and even then, your analogy is rather debatable.

Not at all, nor did I say anything relating to the distinction between civil and criminal. Juries, of either sort, are asked to make determinations about matters of fact. They are also asked to make judgments about the credibility of witnesses, usually with far far less of a record than we have here. And the analogy, remember, was originally yours. :)

"I never find" would imply that you've looked.

Only to someone who presupposed that I've never looked. Don't you see how you leap from presumption to conclusion?

Are you going to be saying "I didn't even suggest that, much less say it." again soon? :)

How would "I never find" every imply that someone hadn't looked to, well, anyone, regardless of anyones alleged presuppositions?

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I get fed every post that you and every post a host of other blogs make; and I go through them all. That's part of what I do in harvesting the news. Now, granted, over the last few days I've noticed less disdainful rhetoric in your posts, and I was actually thinking of sending you an email praising you for that.

I don't think it's a good or bad thing that I have disdain for this or that group of people based on experience. I agree that such disdain is irrelevant to the soundness of judgment of specific situations, and its not to be encouraged or overused because it can indeed cloud ones judgment. In fact, I found myself defending Vox Day, of all people, from this the other day. But judgments about people's character and credibility are not in and of themselves unwarranted or even always a bad idea. I think we've ever right to see a lot of bad faith in the tactics employed by this film and the arguments it makes, especially because many of the things claimed have faced very obvious and public debunkings long before the film existed, to which the filmmakers do not even make mention, not even to refute.

Now, I will grant that I have not explored every nook and cranny of your site, and I certainly haven't tried to plow through all the comments over there (and there are a lot of them!), but I haven't seen you run any articles talking about MacNeill's false claim about Provine being cut from the film, or MacNeill's false attribution of the "No Darwin, No Hitler" quote to Stein,

As far as I know, you haven't seen me run any articles reporting on his claims either. If I did, I can't find any by searching unless I spelled his name wrong (which is common enough). That's because I don't recall him by name, though after googling him, I think the only places I recall seeing those sorts of claims (which I now assume were him) were in comment threads on the Panda's Thumb and Uncommon Descent blogs. But again, if you're going to hit me for not covering someone's mistake, it would be better if it were someone that I'd covered or even knew about as being a significant figure or issue in the debate in the first place.

It certainly seems like MacNeill needs to issue a correction to his claims though.

or the various inaccuracies in the statements from Dawkins and Myers in the wake of Minneapolis incident.

Which are...? I certainly agree that it sounds like both sides of that kerfuffle had misconceptions about exactly what happened. What in specific is your take on who got what wrong about it? Did Mathis let Dawkins in because he considered Dawkins to be respectful, or did Dawkins "only" get in because he "used" his obscure first name (both claims have been made by Premise, both contradictory, and both dubious)?

More telling, I have seen no effort on your part to advocate a reasoned, measured response to any of the new developments related to Expelled. You give no one from the Expelled camp the benefit of the doubt, while Expelled detractors get a free pass on every incorrect claim they make.

So this is what, 0 specific examples we're up to now? :)

Come on. I generally correct myself pretty darn quickly when I say something that's wrong: I even promise a certain degree of error explicitly. You can vaguely characterize what you think my attitude or biases is all you want, but if you really want to help me improve, then you need to point out exactly how and where they did me and others wrong. If you think there are a bunch of things wrong about the Mall of America viewing, I at least linked to a lot of accounts on that, (unlike MacNeill) so give me a list of things I should retract, and I promise that will.

In fact, if you can think of a top five myths from the anti-Expelled side, just suggest them to me and I'll get an article up on that as well, because it would likely be an interesting and illuminating subject that would sharpen the quality of discussion about the film.

Who was telling people that a bad FoxNews review does not have any of the political connotations they assume it did, for instance?

Oh, really; they hardly represent the filmmakers, do they? Throw a bone to the publishers of negative review. Very generous.

How did I "throw them a bone"? People were getting all worked up about how "even FoxNews" says the film is lousy. I pointed out that this exuberance and celebration is based on the completely false assumption that the reviewer was playing against type. Someone that panned Passion of the Christ but praised F9/11 is not a sensible example of someone from, ostensibly "the other side" of some partisan divide hating the film. It certainly was not what people wanted to hear. I believe I was called a "concern troll" or "framer" or some such thing for mentioning it immediately afterwards.

I'm at a loss as to how you could ever call anything "b.s." though

Hard evidence goes a long way. You know, like: Provine is actually in the film.

Provine, the "atheist evolutionist" is in the film, yes? MacNeill was wrong, and you rightly called him on it and he should retract or modify what he argued. So now what?

You tell me since I haven't seen it: Mathis apparently praised Provine for allowing ID people to make their case in class in an interview: do they mention this in the film? As far as I can tell from what others have said, Provine is in the film in this capacity:

For example, [evolutionist] William Provine went down the list of implications of atheism.... His candidness was shocking and appalling in one sense, but in another sense, it was great because it gave you a feeling for the implications of atheism....

Is there more than that?

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