I earlier reported on an incident in which Ben Stein had been misquoted… not for the purpose of suggesting that Stein’s meaning had been particularly misread, but simply in the interest of accuracy.
Well, the quote-miners no longer need to spin Stein’s words to get the gold vein they’ve known was there all along. It’s kind of like a “given enough time, Ben Stein, and endless TV appearances, it’s bound to pop out sooner or later” scenario. And here it is on YouTube (sans editorializing). In text:
Stein: [The Holocaust] was horrifying beyond words, and that’s where science—in my opinion, this is just an opinion—that’s where science leads you.
Crouch: That’s right.
Stein: Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people.
Crouch: Good word, good word.
What an opinion it is, too. The entire program is available from TBN; the quote in question appears at about the 28:20 mark.
In other recent developments (as we watch Expelled approach the $6 million boxoffice mark heading into its third weekend, and wait for legal news from Texas and New York), the folks at Pharyngula decided to have some fun this last weekend.
First off, PZ Myers passed along the news Friday morning that the Expelled MySpace page was carrying one of those reader polls that no one really pays attention to in the first place. “You know how we all love to screw up online polls,” Myers wrote. “… here’s another one. …’Yes’ is currently leading by about 3:1. If everyone goes over there and votes ‘no’, it will raise Mark Mathis’s blood pressure a few points.”
The crew jumped on board. After seven hours, the tally stood at Yes: 630 votes; No: 11,385 votes. Things continued at a pretty similar clip… and then about 10:30 PM, someone posted up some code for a “bash shell” (stuff I know nothing about btw, so I have no idea if the code is legit). At around midnight, readers reported getting a “server too busy” notification from the site, and at 8:44 AM on Saturday, a reader reported: “Bloody hell, it’s being updated by nearly a hundred people a second! It just crossed 200,000!” An hour and a half later… Yes: 805, No: 243,314. By 1 PM: No: 306,420, Yes: 816. (And yes, eventually the webmaster got around to taking the poll down from the Expelled site, though it’s still up at PollDaddy.)
By 9 PM the previous night, though, the crowd had decided that poll crashing wasn’t enough fun; it was now time to start mucking with the numbers at Fandango and Yahoo Movies. And IMDb. And BoxOfficeMojo. The next morning, Rotten Tomatoes and Flixster were added to the list, with the recommendation: “If you leave a review, remember to take some time and rate other reviews as ‘Helpful’.”
Some participants exhibited a bit of crashers’ remorse, though. “Unfortunatly [sic], they’re just going to cry foul and point to it as yet another example of how their views are EXPELLED!” observed one reader. But just yesterday, Greg Laden was reporting the incident as evidence that Expelled was somehow repressing free speech. I trust he was joking.
Here at HJ, Matthew Kinne recently reported on the Web 3.0 movement, which is a reaction to the unreliability of information on the Internet. Kudos to efforts such as these for kicking us back into the iStoneAge. It sure demonstrates a genuine commitment to honesty and truth, and is a real credit to the pro-science crowd. Not.
On the other side of the fence, the Anti-Defamation League weighed in yesterday on Expelled. From their press release:
The film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed misappropriates the Holocaust and its imagery as a part of its political effort to discredit the scientific community which rejects so-called intelligent design theory.
Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people and Darwin and evolutionary theory cannot explain Hitler’s genocidal madness.
Using the Holocaust in order to tarnish those who promote the theory of evolution is outrageous and trivializes the complex factors that led to the mass extermination of European Jewry.
From that perspective, it would sure appear that I’ve been too soft on that angle of the film. I chatted with Michael Medved at a screening of Iron Man last night about it last night, though. It’s clear that conservative Jews such as Medved and Stein don’t take the same view as the ADL. I speculated to Medved that lingering tensions between the ADL and Motive Entertainment, which promoted The Passion of the Christ as well as Expelled, might have contributed. (Ann Coulter probably doesn’t make them all warm and fuzzy either.)
Finally, readers might be interested in my editorial comments about Premise Media’s response to Yoko Ono’s lawsuit.