Thursday, September 27, 2007

New York Times and our Science & Religion lecture

Well...it worked out wonderfully. We had Eugenie Scott for our Science & Religion lecture today, and New York Times had a front page story about a new Intelligent Design Movie that misrepresents science and scientists and Eugenie is one of the misrepresented scientists:
A few months ago, the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins received an e-mail message from a producer at Rampant Films inviting him to be interviewed for a documentary called “Crossroads.”

The film, with Ben Stein, the actor, economist and freelance columnist, as its host, is described on Rampant’s Web site as an examination of the intersection of science and religion. Dr. Dawkins was an obvious choice. An eminent scientist who teaches at Oxford University in England, he is also an outspoken atheist who has repeatedly likened religious faith to a mental defect.

But now, Dr. Dawkins and other scientists who agreed to be interviewed say they are surprised — and in some cases, angered — to find themselves not in “Crossroads” but in a film with a new name and one that makes the case for intelligent design, an ideological cousin of creationism. The film, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” also has a different producer, Premise Media.

The film is described in its online trailer as “a startling revelation that freedom of thought and freedom of inquiry have been expelled from publicly-funded high schools, universities and research institutions.” According to its Web site, the film asserts that people in academia who see evidence of a supernatural intelligence in biological processes have unfairly lost their jobs, been denied tenure or suffered other penalties as part of a scientific conspiracy to keep God out of the nation’s laboratories and classrooms.

Dawkins wasn't the only one. Here is Eugenie Scott:
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.”

This was great publicity for our lecture and we did get a chance to talk about the film with Eugenie today. She is truly worried about its nasty anti-science sentiment portrayed in the film. She mentioned that National Center for Science Education (NCSE) will soon have a website countering some of the propaganda of the film. The problem is that any controversy is good publicity for the ID movement - perhaps after the Dover defeat, these media cheap tricks is the only strategy left for the movement.

In any case, the lecture by Eugenie Scott on "Creationism & Evolution: A Historical Perspective" was great! I will post the video as soon as it is available.