Ohio science/religion teacher Freshwater loses yet again

JISHOU, HUNAN — So, here’s the short version. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled, 4-3, last week that the Mount Vernon School District was well within its rights to fire teacher John Freshwater for insubordination, given that he repeatedly ignored orders to remove religious material from his classroom and from his teaching. The court’s ruling, however, sidestepped the thornier underlying question of how much discussion of creationism and Intelligent Design may be permissible in a science classroom. That question in fact was a large part of Freshwater’s appeal of a lower court’s decision. And the court’s failure to address the issue drew sharp words from the three dissenting judges. Writing for the dissent, Justice Paul E. Pfeifer writes: {¶ 105} What next? With the insubordination claim gutted, the lead opinion should have moved on to consider the constitutional issues remaining in the case. Instead, the majority walks away from the opportunity to provide helpful guidance to every school board in Ohio and to the thousands of great teachers who could benefit from knowing more about the extent of and limits on their academic freedom. Justice O’Donnell’s well-reasoned dissent addresses the issue, but goes unrebutted. In short, the majority shrinks from the ...

That’s Expelled 1, Yoko 0

John Lennon’s heirs have lost their copyright infringement case against the makers of the film, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. A federal judge ruled today that the movie can legally use a snippet of Lennon’s song, “Imagine,” without express permission from the copyright holders. The decision clears the way for Expelled‘s creators and marketers to distribute the film in Canada in time for a June 6 opening, and to market DVDs in the fall. The film needs the added revenue boost; it’s bombing in the US. On April 22, Yoko Ono Lennon, her husband’s two sons, and his publisher, EMI Blackwood, filed a copyright infringement suit in US District Court in Manhattan, claiming that Premise Media — the film’s creator — had used a part of “Imagine” without their permission. The heirs asked for an immediate suspension of showing the film anywhere, recall of all existing copies and at least $75,000 in damages. Premise Media, meanwhile, contended its use of the song was within the “fair use” doctrine of US copyright law. The Fair Use Project of the Stanford Law School then announced it would defend Premise and the other defendants in court. Judge Sidney Stein ruled in favor of Premise ...

NY judge promises quick decision on Yoko – Expelled suit

From the Associated Press: NEW YORK (AP) — A judge has promised a fast decision in a lawsuit brought by Yoko Ono to get the song Imagine taken out of a movie challenging the concept of Darwinian evolution. A lawyer for the movie’s distributors has warned that the litigation could wreck the movie’s political message by preventing it from impacting viewers in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential campaign. The movie, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, features Ben Stein challenging Darwinian theories and suggesting life could have originated through intelligent design. About 20 to 30 seconds of the song are played in the movie. Ono has accused the movie’s producers of infringing the song’s copyrights by using it without her permission, giving the impression that the Lennon family had authorized it. US District Judge Sidney Stein’s ruling will settle whether the producers of the film can release it to Canadian theaters and to DVD as planned. The Canadian premiere is scheduled for June 6, according to Premise Media’s attorney Anthony Falzone. DVD rights have to be finalized by the end of this month for an October release, he said. As for the political impact of the film, this decision will have ...

Expelled‘s legal woes — update

A New York state judge heard Premise Media’s arguments yesterday against a preliminary injunction barring Premise Media and its associates from distributing Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed further. There’s no word yet on the judge’s decision, which could mean he is carefully mulling the matter over. The suit is only part of the movie’s legal woes, stemming from its use of a short clip of John Lennon’s song, “Imagine.” The producers failed to obtain permission to use the song, and Lennon’s heirs and publisher are crying foul. Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono Lennon, his two sons, and EMI Blackwood filed a copyright infringement suit April 22 in US District Court in Manhattan demanding at least $75,000 in damages, a complete recall of the existing version of the movie, now playing in about 200 theaters, and an injunction against further distribution of the movie. EMI Blackwood and Capitol Records followed that suit up with another in state court, demanding a preliminary injunction against further distribution of the movie. There were hearings yesterday in both the federal and state cases. In the state case, Judge Richard Lowe stayed a temporary restraining order issued April 30 barring further distribution of the movie until he rules ...

And lower and lower and …

While its lawyers haggle in court about copyright issues, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed continues its inevitable decline into theatrical obscurity. The anti-evolution “blockbuster” pulled in gross box office receipts this weekend of only $102,690, and the number of theaters carrying the flick is now down to 210. The movie opened April 18 with a great deal of hullabaloo in 1,052 theaters and pulled in an impressive (for a schlockumentary) box office receipts of $2.97 million. Its receipts and theater count have dropped precipitously since then, despite the predictions of its creators that it would be a box-office smash. Instead it will probably fade into DVD obscurity, once certain legal problems are resolved. Currently, the makers of the film are under a court order not to distribute the flick any further while a copyright infringement suit is settled. Premise Media, the creator of the movie, licensed several songs, but failed to obtain permission from the copyright holders of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” A short section of the song is used as a foil to suggest that “Darwinism” inevitably leads to atheism. Lennon’s family and publisher filed suit against Premise Media and its associates April 24 alleging copyright and trademark infringement, asking for ...

Why they did it 3

So why did Stanford Law’s Fair Use Project decide to defend the makers of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed in a copyright infringement lawsuit? To protect their free speech rights, the project’s executive director said yesterday in his blog. The legal tussle revolves around the movie’s use of part of John Lennon’s song, “Imagine,” to suggest how “Darwinism” might lead to atheism. Reports vary as to the length of the clip, from 10 to 25 seconds, but in any event the copyright holders to the song were not amused. Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono Lennon, and sons, Sean and Julian, along with his publisher, EMI Blackwood Publishing, filed a copyright and trademark infringement suit April 22 in US District Court in Manhattan, demanding the current version of the film be pulled from theaters and that further distribution of the film be barred. They also asked for at least $75,000 in damages. Until he hears both sides of the case next Monday, District Court Judge Sidney Stein issued a temporary restraining order April 30 preventing Expelled‘s makers from distributing the movie to any more theaters or in DVD form. His order did not affect the movie’s screenings (dwindling as we speak) already in ...

Expelled receipts, theater count continue decline

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed continued to lose box-office share over the weekend, pulling in gross receipts that were half what it pulled in the weekend before. Meanwhile, more than 200 theaters dropped the anti-evolution flick from the line-ups. Box Office Mojo estimates the movie had weekend gross box receipts of $302,000 for the 402 theaters still screening it. Expelled opened April 18 in 1,052 locations and pulled in almost $3 million its first weekend. Since then, weekend receipts have dropped by about half each week. Total gross receipts are now estimated to be $7.2 million.

Ben Stein shills for Expelled on Christian TV, part 5

This clip from Ben Stein’s interview on Trinity Broadcast Network includes his amazingly stupid, misinformed crackpot idea that scientists murdered Jews during World War II. I had always assumed it was Nazi soldiers “following orders.” My bad. Watch it and weep. Someone took Ben Stein’s brain.

Ben Stein shills for Expelled on Christian TV, part 4

Actor/commentator Ben Stein appeared on the Trinity Broadcast Network on April 24 to discuss the anti-evolution flick Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Excerpts of the half-hour interview with Paul Crouch Jr. are now on YouTube. In this clip, Stein talks about how the faithful can combat the Darwinist agenda of suppression and atheism, completely misinterprets the Kitzmiller v. Dover court decision, and relates the “crashing” of a private screening of the film by an Orlando film critic. He also spins the filmmakers’ expulsion of biologist PZ Myers from another private screening in Minneapolis, missing the irony that the producers of a film alleging suppression of ideas should expel someone from seeing the film. Then, Stein states that science teachers should “teach the evidence” about the origins and development of life, and ask students to decide whether evolution or Intelligent Design provides the better explanation. “The role of science is to disprove itself,” Stein says in one jaw-droppingly stupid moment. Finally, he alleges that “Darwinists” refuse to consider alternative theories, because it would mean the loss of their jobs and comfortable pensions, and makes ridiculous connections between evolution and atheism and communism.

Ben Stein shills for Expelled on Christian TV, part 3

Ben Stein, the “star” of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed reveals his appalling lack of scientific understanding in this excerpt from his appearance on Paul Crouch Jr’s show on TBN April 24. Stein, who interviews several scientists in the anti-evolution movie, asserts that Darwin’s evolutionary theory cannot explain the complexity of living cells nor can it explain how life began. He continues by discussing his own religious beliefs and his comfort with the concept that there is evolution within species, but not with the evolutionary prediction that new species arise from existing ones.

Ben Stein shills for Expelled on Christian TV, part 2

In this excerpt of Ben Stein’s appearance on Paul Crouch’s TBN program, Stein talks about his involvement with Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed and his dismay “Darwinists” are restricting “academic freedom” by suppressing anti-evolution scientists. Stein, who is Jewish, also reveals his interest in the connection between Darwinism and Nazism, and asserts that Darwinism/evolution has become a religion for some in academia. Part 2 of 5, from YouTube:

Ben Stein shills forExpelled on Christian TV, part 1

Late last month, actor/economist/commentator Ben Stein appeared on Paul Crouch Jr.’s TV show on the Trinity Broadcast Network to talk about Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Stein made some incredibly stupid comments during the half-hour show, some of which have made it onto the ‘Net. Most of the program featured three excerpts from the anti-evolution film, which is showing nationally in about 650 theaters. TBN has it in its entirety, but excerpts are now available on YouTube in five parts. In this part, Crouch introduces Stein and invites him to summarize the movie and the reasons behind it. Stein repeats the movie’s assertion that “Darwinists” are restricting academic freedom.
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