As we noted earlier this month, Ben Stein—of Richard Nixon and “Ferris Bueller” fame—is starring in an anti-evolution documentary called “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” While the movie isn’t set to be released until February, scientists are already accusing its producers of dishonesty—and not for claiming that “Intelligent Design” creationism is a valid scientific theory. As various outlets are reporting, several scientists well known for refuting anti-evolution activists say the producers for the film hid their agenda, portraying the project innocently as “Crossroads: The Intersection of Science and Religion” (still listed on the web site of the supposed production company).
From the New York Times:
If he had known the film’s premise, Dr. Dawkins said in an e-mail message, he would never have appeared in it. “At no time was I given the slightest clue that these people were a creationist front,” he said.
Eugenie C. Scott, a physical anthropologist who heads the National Center for Science Education, said she agreed to be filmed after receiving what she described as a deceptive invitation.
“I have certainly been taped by people and appeared in productions where people’s views are different than mine, and that’s fine,” Dr. Scott said, adding that she would have appeared in the film anyway. “I just expect people to be honest with me, and they weren’t.” …
Walt Ruloff, a producer and partner in Premise Media [producer of “Expelled”], also denied that there was any deception. Mr. Ruloff said in a telephone interview that Rampant Films [which approached the scientists as producers of “Crossroads”] was a Premise subsidiary, and that the movie’s title was changed on the advice of marketing experts, something he said was routine in filmmaking. …
Another scientist who was, P. Z. Myers, a biologist at the University of Minnesota, Morris, said the film’s producers had misrepresented its purpose, but said he would have agreed to an interview anyway. But, he said in a posting on The Panda’s Thumb Web site, he would have made a “more aggressive” attack on the claims of the movie.
As for Stein, who rails in the movie against the scientific establishment’s supposed unsavory suppression of creationism, he claims innocence, adding that if he had his druthers, the movie would be called “From Darwin to Hitler”—an homage, perhaps, to the late televangelist D. James Kennedy.