Evolution's evangelist Richard Dawkins was left steaming after creationist filmmakers used interviews with him and other prominent atheists in a film promoting intelligent design. According to reports, Dawkins and the others were invited to appear in a documentary called Crossroads, which was to be a debate about creationism vs …
Outwitted by thick people who believe that the world is about 6,000 years old.
That's got to sting like hell. (There is no hell though)
Beware of journos bearing notebooks
When I was a kid, I attended the (in)famous Summerhill School, which was often visited by documentary filmmakers, journalists and similar. Shortly before I started, Cutting Edge made a doco called "Summerhill at 70" which was going to be a serious examination of progressive education and a celebration of the schools seventieth anniversary.
What was made was a tabloid style hatchet job, involving some highly creative editing.
One of many things I therefore learnt at Summerhilll was to be very careful around any kind of meeja - never do or say anything that can be easily taken out of context.
Prof Dawkins has learnt a valuable life lesson. It's a shame he didn't get to learn it as a child.
"Scientists sympathetic to ID are denied academic posts"? Oh no!
From the linked article: "The premise of Expelled is that scientists sympathetic to intelligent design are penalised by being denied academic posts."
Surely this is a good thing? Creationists want to keep us all in the good old dark ages, scientists press forward for new discovery and progress...
I would be more worried if there /wasn't/ a bias against admitting people into academic posts with such an ability to suspend logic and disregard the scientific method.
I thought I was commenting on a totally different story, but now I see you have put my comments here!
Well, I'm a Christian, and if there's a pro-Christian programme coming out which uses the same techniques* and research** into Dawkins' beliefs as he uses in his programmes then frankly I'm going to be too embarrassed to watch it. Hopefully it won't be bad enough to blame atheism for every single bad thing an atheist has done, The Root Of All Evil's guilt by association (http://www.tektonics.org/guest/fallacies.html#GLT)-stylee.
** taking the most negative bias from a random "expert" or just misreading the text themselves
Controversy, the spice of publicity
I wonder if Richard Dawkins realizes that all he's done is create free publicity for the film.
Tut tut, Richard
As an atheist, Bright (http://the-brights.net), naturalist, and so on, I'm typically on the same page as Dawkins.
This time however, it looks like he's throwing the dummy out of the pram because he was slightly fleeced by an interviewer who knew that if he gave the full take of the potential film to Dawkins and his mates, they would refuse to talk.
Given that several of 'our community', i.e. atheist/antireligionist, have persuaded, possibly with a little glossing over, religious figures to appear on televised debates or small programmes with a decidedly (and in my opinion legitimately) aggressive stance against them, he can hardly complain too loudly.
Not surprised they changed the title either, first one was crap and this one is not a lot better, though I can see the Bible Belt (their market) thinking it 'terribly clever'.
If you can't take the heat...
do unto others and all that
if you piss off enough people, you will eventually get pissed off at people because people will do unto others as they have been done unto. In this guy's case... it's probably bad karma for his own bias in his own productions.
Dawkins' fundamentalism is just as unappealing as the creationists'.
Dawkins is just bitching because, like any bully, he can't take being treated in the way that he treats others.
Wouldn't it be great if he started developing god-like powers? I'd laugh my ass off.
>journalists (...) here at El Reg. You're shocked, we know.
Damn right I'm shocked, there's not been any sign of journalists there before..
Where did they come from?
Intelligent Design can't be true.
Its the Paris Hilton angle
I am an atheist, and I hate all religion, but the difference is I am not going to strap a bomb on and go blow up innocent people, go on a genocidal hate campaign against people who oppose me or stone people to death for saying the wrong thing, where religions encourage people to do just that.
Bus loads of faith to get by
I hope that before they showered and dried Dawkins they got to ask him if he'd found the fossil evidence yet; whether he was still looking for it; or whether he now considered it a matter of faith that one day (perhaps in the End Time?) it would be found, and so the creationists should then think that darwinism is correct.
Given that darwinists have had about 150 years of looking to find it (or not, as the case may be), it will truly be a Rapture should it turn up.
There's no monopoly on religion.
I was expecting an interesting story about Steve Ballmer. Instead it's some boring old rubbish about creationism versus Darwinism.
This is a documentary about ID not creationism. I know that in your zeal to promote meaningless in the universe you lump them into one group but this is not correct. They actually have very different views and one movement is not based on the other despite what the media reports that this is so.
Dawkins is not the only to be deceived. Bill Maher snuck into the creation museum before it opened.
As you said...
"Misrepresentation is another thing entirely." Take a look at the still-extant website for Rampant Films and their own description of Crossroads, the movie they claimed they were making. Look in the "Properties" section.
It really doesn't seem like quite the same film as "Expelled". Does that qualify as misrepresentation? Not illegal, but certainly deceptive.
Bang on! (coincidentally, exactly what Dawkins does)
a bit out of place?
I am a bit taken aback by this article, coming as it does from a website and a writer who, as the article states, are no friends of the creationist movement.
The article seems to be taking a somewhat perverse delight in RD's discomfiture, For example, it seems to suggest that RD is (somehow) getting a taste of his own medicine. But this just doesn't add up. Anyone being interviewed by RD should have no illusions whatsoever about what the pitch of the program is going to be. If you are not aware of the reputation of the person or organisation that wants to interview you, you check them out beforehand, and that would be an easy in the case of Richard Dawkins. Once you are done with the interview, you must still give your consent, and you can decide to withhold it on the basis of what actually transpired.
As an aside, it was bemusing to see how many people just queued up to be interviewed by RD for the recent "Enemies of Reason" series, surely knowing full well that the eventual broadcast would not be friendly to them. Why they went ahead with it is their business. Most sensible people would behave otherwise however.
In this case, there is a very strong suspicion that certain interviewees were deliberately deceived as to the ultimate aim. PZ Myers (for one) appears to have had a similar experience to Richard Dawkins:
'False pretences', anyone? Note that it does not matter that the interviews themselves may have given no clues as to what the actual goal of the film was to be. In fact, you can bet that they didn't, or otherwise these and other interviewees would probably have cottoned on very quickly and put a stop to matters. It is possible to make use of a given interview to support more than one point of view, except that in this particular case, the interviewees were deceived as to what that would be.
Such dishonesty is, I'm afraid, typical of creationists.
Well, its nearly time to get me coat
But I just thought it's interesting that these individuals, whose beliefs should imbue them with the very highest level of integrity, have chosen to obtain and use Mr Dawkin's material in the way they have.
To (slightly) misquote an online magazine of the VERY highest standing:
"Integrity? They've heard of it"
(Can I have a Cash & Carrion mug, please? - Integrity? I've heard of it too)
Yes, because there is no precedent for Atheists having anything to do with genocidal hate campaigns or murder of people who speak out against them. Messers Hitler, Mao and Stalin were bang up chaps who never did anything bad in their lives and ran jolly nice countries.
You should also not attribute what is done in the name of religion for what a religion is actually about. Just because some nutter blows up a building and says it is for God, doesn’t mean that God wants this to happen.
You may want to think before you next press the 'post comment' button.
<write some witty eye-catching title here>
"This is a documentary about ID not creationism. I know that in your zeal to promote meaningless in the universe you lump them into one group but this is not correct."
Maybe; but there doesn't seem to be any significant difference between them, given that both insist that the universe is too complex to have evolved, so there has to have been supernatural intervention.
Richard Dawkins, whatever else he may be, is not a fundamentalist and certainly not a holder of any faith.
@Blissett: there is no such thing as Darwinism and exactly which fossils are you whittering about? You're aware, of course, that there is no guarantee of any specific organism being fossilized (many cannot possibly be) much less a guarantee we will or could find such fossils? Piss poor reasoning skills, methinks.
@Danny: so-called "Intelligent Design Theory" and "Creationism" are absolutely linked and essentially the same thing. Also, ID is not in fact a theory, either but an easily refuted postulate.
Re: "Scientists sympathetic to ID are denied academic posts"? Oh no!
Yeah... Whomever complains about this should first consider:
"Doctors sympathetic to voodoo medicine denied hospital jobs"
"Aerospace engineers sympathetic to flat earth doctrine denied NASA jobs"
"Researchers sympathetic to the humoralism denied jobs at big pharma"
"Holocaust deniers denied jobs at the Jewish History Research Center"
Re: the Dawkins thing... I'm a big RD fan, but I'm not above having a laugh at his expense every once in a while... :-) And no matter how immoral the fundies were when they did this film business, RD (and others) should just shut up and deny them the free marketing. I can see the fundy headline: "see the movie that upset atheist Richard Dawkins... because he sees it must be all true then".
ID - Intelligent Debate
"Evillusionists" are perfectly willing to accept alternate hypothesis, and readily admit science does not know everything.
But try and tell a fundie that the earth is 4001 years old instead of 4000, and you're liable to be beaten to death. Shouldn't the "religious" folks be more compassionate and tolerant?
I'm afraid Hitler was certainly no Atheist. He was most certainly a Christian, and this may well have fuelled his anti-semitism.
Not that I disagree with your point, I just can't resist the urge to nitpick.
The only things Dawkins is intolerant of are stupidity and credulousness. We need a bit *more* intolerance of those things, not less.
"We just changed the name"
What's interesting is that the domain name expelledthemovie.com was registered on March 1th, PZ Myers was contacted about an interview in April. And Dawkins too was contacted around that time I believe.
And the domain names rampantfilms.com and premisemedia.com have both been registered for over a year. Mark Mathis is listed on both of them. And they have the same person and physical address registered on their domain names. And they're on the same webhost.
So why did Mark Mathis decide to do the interviews from Rampant Films claiming the movie was going to be called Crossroads when expelledthemovie.com was already registered? And when Mark Mathis also works with Premise Media. It seems they just used Rampant Films and the presumeably made-up movie Crossroads to fraudulently obtain the interviews. This was a well thought out plan to deceive.
Here's the tool I used to investigate when the domain names were registered:
Dawkins' film (The Root of all Evil) was a propaganda piece aimed at the atheist equivalent of the evangelicals interviewed within it. I'm a Christian and even as he mocked my beliefs, I had to wince on behalf of the scientific community as he played fast and loose with the scientific process. By cleverly going all the way to the USA to interview a nutcase and not looking at evidence from an evangelical such as John Stott, Dawkins got the evidence for what he already believed.
Now there is a propaganda film that goes the other way. What did Dawkins expect? There was always going to be a bias one way or another - Dawkins is just miffed it wasn't his bias that was put forward.
Why do so many people think Christianity is about bringing back the dark ages? I would join the chorus of disapproval of anyone who suggests that critical thought should be suspended - that is a mark of a cult. The scientific communities that brought us out of the dark ages were staffed mostly by Christians working on the premise that God is a God of order and what he created should and could be explored and understood.
The materialist view excludes the supernatural by definition. The Christian view is that God (supernatural by definition) transcends the material and this must be recognised if every reality is to be addressed.
As for Dawkins, under his own philosophy, his dismay is just another random electrical brain pattern in an accidental universe with no inherent meaning or relevance. Paradoxically, I disagree.
Its weird - the Bible doesn't comment on how old the earth is!
The 6000 years is an estimation based on various genealogies which were almost certainly _not_ intended as a way to date the earth!
Ha ha Richard Dawkins!
I suspect the schizotypal association is behind the times. There is fossil (and living!) evidence of any number of transitional forms. Anyway, evolution (by means of random mutation and natural selection) is obviously happening:
Mutations take place (readily demonstrable). Some provide a survival advantage, while most do not (obvious). Artificial selection can be used (and is used, and has been used for ages) to cultivate and develop desirable features of domesticated animals; the method is to select those which are most like your ideal (e.g. most meat, most milk production, reddest fruit) and intervene to improve their survival and reproductive chances. Natural selection must take place - how could it be otherwise? The dysfunctional mutant perishes or is less likely to achieve successful reproduction, while the mutant with some advantage has the opportunity to make its mutant trait dominant.
This argument is long over.
Fundamentalism is a state of mind.
i have seen fundamentalists of many kinds. Elec.engineering fundies are my favourite, perhaps because I associate with many elec.eng. people. Some insist on Atmel AVR and detest Microchip PICs. Some insist on PCs and detest Macs. Some (the amplifier fundies) insist on MOSFETs and detest Marshall valve amps (S/N, THD, other arcane parameters). Then there are the audiophile fundies. They love expensive speakers and "oxygen free copper" cables and detest anything that doesn't have gold plated connectors.
Fundamentalism is not about religion. It's a state of mind. Seldom right, but never in doubt. Binary logic (right/wrong, black/white) instead of many possibilities with perhaps no absolute answers to most things. Dawkins is just as much a fundie as any religionist. The sad thing is that evolution has not yet bred such a formerly useful but now obstructionist trait out of the gene pool.
Deception is a classic tool of the Creationist/ID movement
Worm turns says; "The sort of intolerance Dawkins preaches as his articles of faith should be unacceptable in a enlightened society. He is constantly attacking religon in a way which, if directed at say black people, would see him up on inciting racial hatred charges."
Black people are black because they are black and it doesn't change one thing about their competence or reliability. Fundamental religionists who interpret a book as literally true and the word of god, or those who mask similar beliefs in a speciously non-religious unbranded wrapper do do because they choose to ignore facts which disagree with presuppositions they have made, and thus should not be relied upon as competent or reliable in academic areas.
I personally find them changing the title significant; it went from being presented as a neutral examination of the issue to one where the partiality and presumption of guilt on the part of non-Creationists and ID-ers is implicit.
If a black person was persuaded to take part in a documentary called "Crossroads: race and education" and it was then marketed with the name "Whites Expelled, the inherent racism of positive discrimination", they'd feel like they had been conned by unscrupulous, unprofessional and dishonest people.
Dawkins probably feels exactly the same way; he wears his colours on his sleeves, no one opposed to evolutionary theory with him can claim they are unaware of his absolute opposition to their stance if they engaged in debate or were interviewed by him.
To excuse this behaviour is to shrug ones shoulders at journalistic dishonesty and ignore the well documented links between old-style Creationism and the ID movement; I provide the URL for the Wiki, an example quote, and the actual document URL.
"reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions"
If you feel ID is non-religious you have fallen for the strategy of the religious people who created the trojan horse that ID is.
If you have any religious belief and excuse this deception you are a hypocrite
Luther Blissett says "I hope that before they showered and dried Dawkins they got to ask him if he'd found the fossil evidence yet; whether he was still looking for it; or whether he now considered it a matter of faith that one day (perhaps in the End Time?) it would be found, and so the creationists should then think that darwinism is correct.
Given that darwinists have had about 150 years of looking to find it (or not, as the case may be), it will truly be a Rapture should it turn up.
There's no monopoly on religion."
Nor is their on education, and if you had any in the field of evolutionary biology you would realise you are just repeating massive lies when you state there is no fossil evidence. What's your excuse for not informing yourself of the facts before sounding off?
The whining of ID-ers (or is the term ID-ots?) and Creationists about not being accepted by the scientific mainstream is understandable; they want to be taken seriously. The fact they are not taken seriously by the scientific mainstream is equally understandable.
Anyone who meets the standards of peer-review can get published in science journals. ID-ers and Creationists make much of the fact they are not, but it is their fault. If they proved their speculation and hypothesising to any extent they'd be publishable.
At this time it is like someone with a chicken under one arm complaining about not being allowed to enter the duck under one arm club.
ID and Creationism are not taken seriously by scientists as there is no proof of the beliefs they express.
In any case, ID is a self-refuting hypothesis; stating that complex design needs a designer just creates the requirement for a designer designer, and that can only be dealt with by fallacious 'special pleading' or extraordinary claims with no evidence to back them up.
How verrrry convenient.
"...You should also not attribute what is done in the name of religion for what a religion is actually about. Just because some nutter blows up a building and says it is for God, doesn’t mean that God wants this to happen..."
So God is powerless. And a really poor communicator.
Have you read the Koran? Its "clear verses" don't permit of any in interpretation, but are self-contrradictory. As a didactic tool, it blows goats: when was the last time you read a techincal book where the chapters were arranged in order of *length*.
And before you say you're not a Muslim, the Old and New Testaments have no greater reasons for being acceptable as the "True Canon" than the Koran does; they all derive their Authority from themselves: "This is the Word of God and therefore must be True".
Oh, and ID is just a crock of shit. If evolution is too improbable to have happened spontaneously without a guiding intelligence (which must, of necessity be more complex than the evolving system), where did that intelligence spontaneously arise from?
Support for Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins has every right to be angry, but I think he is probably more angry with himself than anyone else. He states in his book 'The God Delusion' that he will not engage in debate with creationists because they usually manage to somehow twist the facts to support their own ridiculous beliefs.
However one may dislike the man's approach ( I, for one, applaud it ), one cannot deny that he is correct, if one assesses the evidence. Science in all it's forms is under attack from powerful religious organizations, it should be resisted using any (peaceful) means possible. The alternative doesn't bear thinking about.
The slow evolution to secular society
Richard Dawkins insults religious people because he takes away their religion. It's not a case of "my god is better than your god" (which religious people seem to be able to tolerate), it's more a case of "There is no god. You merely have an invisible friend. Grow up".
There's no easy or polite way to point out how childish and illogical religions are without insulting religious people (see, I did it just then). It's no surprise that Dawkins finds himself under attack, just as Galileo found himself under attack for pointing out that the earth could not be the centre of the universe. Ooh the arrogance of the man!
@How verrrry convenient:
> they [OT, NT, Koran] all derive their Authority from themselves:
> "This is the Word of God and therefore must be True".
Not quite. One of the councils of the church decided which books to include in the biblical canon. Later on, Luther & friends re-examined the question so to this day, the RC church considers certain books canonical that the Protestants consign to the apocrypha.
As for the fundies, it amuses me that while they rail against evolution, they overlook the point that science is a unified whole. The same science that resulted in the iPod includes evolution as a proven fact. You can't deny one without denying the other.
A reminder: the people who beat the drum loudest on the evolution issue are just in it for the money, and are merely using it as a tool for fleecing the ignorant; just as the Republican party cynically plays the fundamentalist card when it suits them. I am convinced that Bush et cie are not at all religious. Their god is the almighty dollar.
Historical footnote: H. L. Mencken, in a brief biography of William Jennings Bryan, published in Mencken's "American Mercury", pointed to Bryan as the man who first mixed religion into American politics.
Dawkins and debate
Richard Dawkins was on a BBC local radio station recently, debating with creationists. The sum total of his argument was ad hominem attacks, much as the attacks on creationist here are. Such attacks only influence your own side and the terminally ignorant, much as the traditional political polemic does. Once anyone seriously sits down and studies the 'science' behind evolution they will quickly find that there is more opinion than empirical evidence.
"Why do so many people think Christianity is about bringing back the dark ages?"
Well, maybe it's because Christianity is widely considered to be responsible for the Dark Ages in the first place.
> they overlook the point that science is a unified whole. The same science
> that resulted in the iPod includes evolution as a proven fact. You can't
> deny one without denying the other.
so no scientist has ever disagreed with another?
If there is one thing I have no doubts on its that 'scientists' will believe different things in the future than they do now...
There you go...
"a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions"
Talking about dark ages...
"Just because some nutter blows up a building and says it is for God, doesn’t mean that God wants this to happen"
Apparently you've never read the "holy" books very attentively, eh? It's amazing the amount of people I've met who say something like "I stopped believing when I really did read the Bible"...
Are Creationists really stupid?
If they are, then
<li>Leonardo da Vinci
<li>Sir Isaac Newton
must have been numskulls as they believed in a creator and creation.
not sure about "god" but I find "Active Malice" explains how the Universe functions pretty well
"The filmmakers insist they did not mislead anyone, and that the film's name was changed on the advice of marketing experts. "
Marketing/advertising people... Evil has its footsoldiers
Evolution is over-rated...
... writes my chum Mr. Sunshine:
"You spend 200 million years slowly adapting and changing from a kind of sea-gherkin into a 20 foot high super monster that can run at 40 miles an hour, with jaws that can easily chew a Range Rover and are very nearly at the top of the food chain.
Then, millions of years later, you finally end up as a budgie."
Ok: I am a Christian, I don't believe in creationism (after all Creation is just a story to illustrate how the world was created.) I also believe that ID is a croc of shit made up by American fundamentalists, who were told that they can no-longer teach creationism as a "science".
@ Anonymous coward:
"...So God is powerless. And a really poor communicator..."
God allowed mankind to evolve with a free will. God therefore cannot interfere with this, otherwise mankind has no free will.
"...Have you read the Koran? Its "clear verses" don't permit of any in interpretation, but are self-contrradictory. As a didactic tool, it blows goats: when was the last time you read a techincal book where the chapters were arranged in order of *length*.
And before you say you're not a Muslim, the Old and New Testaments have no greater reasons for being acceptable as the "True Canon" than the Koran does; they all derive their Authority from themselves: "This is the Word of God and therefore must be True"...."
The Bible, Koran, Torah, etc are all written by people who have either chronicled events, or written their understanding of the word of God, etc. and are therefore open to interpretation. There is a difference between not being able to change texts, to preserve them, (as in The Koran) and not being able to interpret the meaning conveyed by them. If you read something you are interpreting it, especially in Arabic where texts can have radically different meanings depending upon the rendering of the translation. If you have read a passage in two different English translations of the Bible you can see this, as they are unlikely to have been the same words. Therefore you have to question the texts to find their true meaning.
"...Oh, and ID is just a crock of shit...."
"... If evolution is too improbable to have happened spontaneously without a guiding intelligence (which must, of necessity be more complex than the evolving system), where did that intelligence spontaneously arise from? ..."
I think that you are saying that you belive that the universe spontaneously appeared into being, but you are not prepared to believe that a supreme being can just exist. This is the 'if God created the universe, who created God argument.' and the answer is nothing created God, God just exists.
"..."Just because some nutter blows up a building and says it is for God, doesn’t mean that God wants this to happen"
Apparently you've never read the "holy" books very attentively, eh? It's amazing the amount of people I've met who say something like "I stopped believing when I really did read the Bible"..."
I have read the bible pretty attentively, over a course of many years and I'm pretty sure that there is nothing in the bible that tells me to go out and kill/maim/harm unbelievers or to wage unjust war in God's name. Then again, people can interpret texts in many ways. JWs for instance choose to believe that the Bible says that they can't have blood transfusions, I've read the verses they quote and I can't see it. Thousands of Americans, seem to think that the Bible says it is ok to execute people, dispite the whole 'Thou shalt not kill', that can hardly be levelled at the Bible for not being clear on the subject.
As for the people you've met who stopped believeing when the read the Bible, I've also met people who started believing when they read the Bible...
"Well, maybe it's because Christianity is widely considered to be responsible for the Dark Ages in the first place."
Barbarian invasions, old boy, leading to fall of Rome - didn't help?
Well, I woke up this morning an atheist, but having read these comments I see that atheism is just plain wrong, and science has no reasonable justification.
I wonder what the truth really is then? Can anyone recommend any reading? I was thinking the myths of a nomadic pastoral society as crystallised in the period when their elite became literate would probably be the best place to look? Any suggestions?
I appreciate that I may have to interpret the myths so that they make sense, but ideally at the same time I would like to be able to rely on them being absolutely literally true.