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Expelled from "Expelled":

P.Z. Myers wasn't allowed in, but his guests were. More here and here.

Reader (mail):
Why link (twice) to an adolescent blog, but not even once to the many objective accounts of this event in the respectable press? The NY Times wrote about it, indicating Myers was an unwelcome guest and suggesting he did not present himself politely. This is a stupid story to be following in the first place, but if volokh.com must blog about it, I would hope they could at least link to the objective accounts.
3.21.2008 11:53pm
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):
Yes, Reader, how awful of Mr. Myers to want to view a movie which he was interviewed for -- of course, without his knowing he was being interviewed for it because the producers misrepresented the nature of the film -- so he can determine to what extent his words have been twisted.
3.22.2008 12:02am
stunned:
The suggestion in the NYT that Myers did not "present himself politely" is about as oblique as you can get. The relevant quote (I assume) is, "Mark Mathis, a producer of the film who attended the screening, said that 'of course' he had recognized Dr. Dawkins, but allowed him to attend because 'he has handled himself fairly honorably, he is a guest in our country and I had to presume he had flown a long way to see the film.'" NY Times

It's entirely unclear how Myers failed to behave "honorably," but isn't it entirely possible that, e.g., Mathis was offended by some "adolescent" postings on Myers's blog? That is, your own oblique suggestion that Myers was misbehaving himself in line is not supported by the press accounts of the incident.
3.22.2008 12:07am
Reader (mail):
Sean, I don't really know what you're talking about. I hope he does see the movie. But if he goes to a private event and is kicked out (maybe because the producer was acting like an ass, or maybe because he was), should we read about it: i) on his blog only; or ii) on his blog and/or from an objective source? I vote for ii.
3.22.2008 12:09am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Sean, they apparently excluded PZ Myers but allowed Richard Dawkins. (There doesn't seem to be any dispute on that point.) Myers' explanation is that, boy they're stupid. Their explanation is that Myers was being disruptive and Dawkins wasn't. I know which one I find more credible.
3.22.2008 12:19am
Prosecutorial Indiscretion:
I giggled incessantly when I read that Myers was booted but Richard freaking Dawkins, the antichrist of all antichrists in the eyes of the creationist movement (among others), was allowed to amble in and watch the movie, and even got called on in the Q&A session. Comedy gold.
3.22.2008 12:59am
taney71:
I have no idea who Myers is but from reading his blog I get the impression he is a 14 year old kid who thinks very highly of himself. A lot of bragging and ego stroking going on there esp. within the comment section.

Now why is this posted here? Did I miss something? Should I care about this Myers character getting kicked out of a movie line?

I haven't read the NY Times' account, but basing the event purely on Myers' version I would say the guy was doing something jerky.
3.22.2008 1:00am
Q the Enchanter (mail) (www):
Teach the controversy!
3.22.2008 1:09am
jab (mail):
taney71 said:

I get the impression he is a 14 year old kid who thinks very highly of himself. A lot of bragging and ego stroking going on there


actually go to the movie homepage and check out ben stein's movie trailer... now that's a 14 year old kid who thinks very highly of himself with heavy doses of bragging and ego stroking... who knew ben stein was this much of a yahoo??
3.22.2008 1:21am
Tavi:
For biographical information about P.Z. Myers, see this Wikipedia article. In a nutshell, he is an associate professor of Biology at the University of Minnesota, Morris, and has been a longstanding outspoken critic of creationism, religion and intelligent design. He has had many arguments (public and private) with proponents of intelligent design.

In April 2007, Myers was interviewed for a movie ostensibly titled "Crossroads". It was presented to him as a documentary about religion and science -- not about the 'expulsion' of intelligent design from the realm of scientific debate. Parts of that interview are now in "Expelled".

Thus it would be natural for Myers to be interested in how he is being portrayed in the film. I find it hard to believe that he would want to cause a disturbance before even entering the theater. Why screw up the chance to find out how he appears in the movie? And given how secretive the producers of the film have been with respect to reviews (especially those that might be negative), the account Myers provided on his blog strike me as very plausible.

The claims that "Expelled" was 'invitation only' or required tickets appear to be false. Anyone can go to the RSVP page on the Expelled website and sign up to see it. No invitations or tickets are required (only an ID that matches the name provided on the signup page).
3.22.2008 1:31am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Why should we take Myer's account of his alleged "expulsion" as an accurate account of what happened at the screening? Sometimes militant atheists can be quite obnoxious and disruptive. A quick look at his blog indicates that he has a tendency towards intemperate remarks. This seems like a non-story to me.
3.22.2008 1:52am
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
In April 2007, Myers was interviewed for a movie ostensibly titled "Crossroads". It was presented to him as a documentary about religion and science -- not about the 'expulsion' of intelligent design from the realm of scientific debate. Parts of that interview are now in "Expelled".


Indeed. The producers of the movie are now claiming that "Crossroads" was merely a "working title" that evolved naturally -- if you will excuse the phrase -- into "Expelled." But it turns out they are lying....they registered the "Expelledthemovie" domain before the interviews in question, but never registered "crossroads." They used the lie about what type of movie they were making to get interviews which they could cull for out-of-context clips.

I suppose technically there is nothing wrong with the proponents of Intelligent Design using the same movie-making tactics that Borat uses to show bags of his feces to Southern dinner guests.

And I'm sure that the fact that Ben Stein wanted to call the movie "From Darwin to Hitler" is no stain at all on its credibility. After all, cleanliness is next to Godwinness.
3.22.2008 2:45am
David M. Nieporent (www):
I find it hard to believe that he would want to cause a disturbance before even entering the theater. Why screw up the chance to find out how he appears in the movie?
Because he's an egotistical jerk? And because, it being a movie rather than a live performance, there will be plenty of other chances to find out how he appears in the movie?
And given how secretive the producers of the film have been with respect to reviews (especially those that might be negative), the account Myers provided on his blog strike me as very plausible.
Except that they let Dawkins in.
3.22.2008 2:49am
jim47:
I had to presume [Dawkins] had flown a long way to see the film.


And Myers hadn't come a long way? Clearly this is someone who has no idea how annoyingly far Morris MN is from civilization. :-p

Never met PZ, but his kids, who I went to high school with, seem quite nice and laid back. I'd be a bit skeptical that he was misbehaving.
3.22.2008 6:22am
devoman:
"Their explanation is that Myers was being disruptive..."

"Sometimes militant atheists can be quite obnoxious and disruptive."



Can someone point out to me where it is suggested that Myers was being disruptive? The N.Y. Times article certainly doesn't suggest that.
3.22.2008 8:50am
advisory opinion:
I was a militant atheist once. Now I'm just an atheist. People move on, man.

Myers' obnoxiousness, paranoia, and deep bile is what you'd expect from a teenager entering into the creationist nut-baiting game for the first time. Sign of arrested development in my view.

I enjoy reading Russell or even Hitchens, who some may consider rude but to me is coruscating and retains a grain of elegance in his writing. Attack-dogs like Myers, by contrast, are just a pain to read. Lots of foam, spittle, and adolescence that is offputting in the extreme.
3.22.2008 9:02am
Adam K:

who knew ben stein was this much of a yahoo??


I don't think Ben Stein is a yahoo. I think Ben Stein is a liar. There is a rather significant difference. He knows he can get some publicity and score a little cash if he trots out this ID nonsense. The man worked for Nixon for heaven's sake; give the Machiavellian lobe of his brain a little credit.
3.22.2008 9:04am
PersonFromPorlock:
I think the likelihood here is that everyone concerned is acting like an ass.There may be some cause for concern if the 'police' were in fact real police but absent that, it just looks like tendentiousness-all-around; a playground squabble, in fact.
3.22.2008 9:48am
Rock Chocklett:
A couple observations:

First, we don't have enough information to know whether Mathis's or Myers's version of events is more accurate. I am skeptical of Myers, though. He would have us believe Mathis recognized him but had no clue who Richard Dawkins was (apparently both are prominently featured in the film). And what better way to controversy-bait than to set yourself up to get booted from the movie "Expelled"?

Second, let's assume for the sake of argument Myers is correct. Maybe Mathis is a lower-level producer who had been instructed to look out for Myers (a professor in the state) but was unaware Dawkins might show up. What's the point? The screening was a free-of-charge promotional event designed to generate positive buzz about the film. Myers can go see the movie as many times as he likes, just not on their dime. If this had been a pro-evolution movie, I could see the producers keeping out prominent evangelicals and creationists.

In the end, it was just a lousy PR move. Any disruption Myers could have caused at the screening has been offset by giving him just what he wanted. The producer threw Myers in the briar patch.
3.22.2008 11:01am