ScienceBlogs blogger PZ Myers was pulled out of a theater queue and told he would not be allowed to preview Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed at a screening at the University of Minnesota last night. The organizers of the event did permit Myers’ family and their guest, noted biologist Richard Dawkins, in, however.
Myers and Dawkins both appear — somewhat unwillingly — in the movie.
Myers is a UM biologist and an atheist, and excoriates creationism and Intelligent Design regularly in his blog. If the creators of Expelled have a dartboard in their office, Myers’ photo is probably thumbtacked to it.
In order to attend a preview of the movie, you visit their site and register for the screening. Registrants have to provide name, address, email and phone number.* Myers is well known in his town, and on the blogosphere, so his registration probably alerted their watchdogs. Either that, or they were specifically looking for him in the crowd.
Dawkins, another well known “evilutionist,” was spotted later in the audience. As this eyewitness report on the Expelled website puts it, he was “crashing the party.” (The report also alleges Myers tried to sneak in without a ticket. No tickets were required, and Myers and others there say he was not being disruptive, as the report alleges.)
Wait a minute. The premise of the flick is supposedly that “evolutionists” are squelching the teaching of creationism and Intelligent Design in academia, and persecuting faculty who try to teach those ideas as alternatives to evolution. Instead, the movie’s creators contend, there should be a free and open discussion of the origins of life, giving creationism and ID equal time.
So it would seem that they would want everyone to be able to preview the movie, since they want open discussion of all ideas. Right?
Maybe not. Instead, it seems they only want churchy types who are already predisposed to accept the movie’s premises to attend the free previews. Everyone else will have to shell out money to see it when it hits the big screens on April 18.
The scriptural admonishment about the “beam in thy eye” comes to mind. It’s a wonder the “expellers” can see at all.
* When I checked the RSVP form a few days ago, there was the option to indicate how many guests you were bringing, but not their names. Myers indicated he had guests. Now, the form does not provide a way to indicate you’re bringing guests. Instead, each person has to register individually. It also states that names will be checked against a list at the door. That’s probably how Myers was nailed.