In early 2008, Premise films will release Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a documentary film featuring Ben Stein arguing that those who believe in "Intelligent Design" face persecution in the academy and scientific institutions. For the movie, the producers arranged interviews with prominent scientists who point out that ID is not a scientific theory or who argue against a belief in God. Yet according to this NYT story, the film producers explained they were with a different production company and making a movie about the intersection of faith and belief, rather than about the alleged persecution of ID proponents.
Dr. [Richard] 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.
The producers claim there was nothing sneaky or nefarious involved, just a routine change in the working title of a film. Yet for the reasons detailed in this PZ Myers post, that explanation seems a little thin. I don't think anything illegal occurred — and journalists often engage in some deception when seeking interviews — so it seems to me the producers should just own up to what they did.
UPDATE: Ron Bailey on "The Shame of Ben Stein."