Have you heard about 'Expelled'? The new film featuring Ben Stein (yes, he of the vast vats of trivial knowledge with which he defended his vast vats of money.)
It's a film pushing the Intelligent Design agenda.
A quick primer on Intelligent Design: It's the evolution of Creationism.
Essentially I.D. claims that life as we know it could not possibly be a random occurence thus it must have been designed by a greater intelligence. I'm not going to get into the details here it has been done elsewhere better than I can do. But I will state my opinion - which happens to align perfectly with the evidence. I.D. is a complete load of anti-scientific bullshit.
The most genuinely intelligent thing about I.D. is it's tactic. It IS creationsim. Do not be fooled. It claims to be science, but it's actual claims fail to adhere to the actual scientific method... let alone the facts. Creationists are using I.D. as a wedge into science education, and for the most part is is failing, but it is putting up a good fight.
You may recall a movement (which failed) to have creation taught in schools - PUBLIC schools - and presented in hte name of fairness as an alternate theory as to how we got here. The fairness argument went a LONG way. It appealed to a lot of people (myself included at one time) who don't believe in the bible's version of creation, but who do ultimately believe in a fair playing filed and letting people make up thier own minds. But here's the thing... it is NOT science. It is not falsifiable, it is not a self-correcting process, it does not make measurable predictions with any reliabilty. Therefore it CAN NOT be taught as science. Fine, offer a theology class in public schools, that's all dandy, I have little doubt that Evolution won't be allowed in the door. We don't teach math in drama classes, we don't allow french-horns from band into french classes, despite the common word. And thus, dressing creationism up and giving it a scientifically appealling name should not mean it is allowed in science classes.
That's the basic issue with I.D. It's a tactic, more than any kind of real movement. It is creationism - though they've tried very hard not to admit it (and again have failed, there were bound to be loose lips). It didn't have much of a chance really before people started to recognise it for what it was. But folks are cottoning on. And it's been happening quickly really. I don't mean that people are beginning to tear apart I.D.s claims - that happened almost the very second a the first scientist caught wind of it. What is happening is that the word is getting around.
I.D. lost a very important battle two years ago - the infamous Dover case. Kind of the monkey-trial of it's day... except that this time science won.
So the argument has come around that I.D. is not getting it's fair chance to be heard. It is being oppressed. It's voice is squelched by those mean and nasty rational thinkers. And THAT is what 'Expelled' is apparently about. How an apparently smart guy like Ben Stein ended up on the wrong side of this issue, I do not know. But it sure is disappointing. I suppose it was inevitable really. All the I.D. lobby had to do was search until they found themselves someone who has a reputation as being smart to be their champion. Too bad for Ben Stein they found him first - now he's losing cred as a smart guy. He's instantly regulated himself to the bargain bin of intellectuals. He is now little more than a game show host and 'that guy from Ferris Buehler.'
I need to take a moment to declare that I have yet to see 'Expelled.' I cannot really speak to it directly. But I don't have to in order to get to my final point. I have every intention of seeing 'Expelled' for the record. I want to know what I am talking about when I rant beyond the scope of this post. I want to make something known though... there is NO WAY IN (non-existent) HELL that I will pay to see this movie. They are not getting my money for their crappy bullshit cause. Buy I absolutely will bit-torrent it first chance I get. (Note: Bit-torrenting is wrong. Do not do it. It is stealing. I am in no way recommending the bit-torrenting of movies - except this one. And I would never bit-torrent a movie - except this one. Do not bit-torrent movies - expect this one... and only then if you, like me, have some kind of intellectual need to see it and an aversion to putting money in the producer's pockets.)
So, believe it or not, that was all set up.
I recently found this blog post my PZ Myers. I recommend you read it yourself (and the post that followed it.) rather than take my summary, but that won't stop me from summarizing.
PZ - atheist blogger - was actually interviewed for 'Expelled.' Last night he went to a screening of it in Minneapolis with his family and friends. The producers noted this and had him removed from the premises... with the threat of arrest - presumably assuming he was there to make a stink of some sort with his posse. Now, that's kind of ironic - the movie they made to protest the oppression of their own voice, and called 'Expelled' - they prevented a vocal atheist from seeing for fear that he might voice his opinion... they expelled him. Just him. No one else in his group. His family and his friends all got into the movie without issue.
But wait! There's more!
Amongst PZ's friends who he came with.... the mac-daddy of modern atheistic philosophy and activism - RICHARD DAWKINS, author of 'The God Delusion.'
They let Richard Dawkins in without even realizing who he was. Fucking awesome. And utterly un-'Intelligent.'