Lennon’s survivors sue Expelled producers 2

It had to happen. John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, and sons, Sean and Julian Lennon, have sued the producers of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed for using the song “Imagine” without permission. Joining in the suit, filed today in U.S. District Music Inc. in Manhattan, is music publisher EMI Blackwood Music Inc. The complainants seek to bar the film’s makers and their distributors from continuing to use “Imagine” in the movie, which opened last Friday. The suit also seeks unspecified damages. Expelled includes a 25-second excerpt from the 1971 song. The producers, Premise Media, claim their use of the song is legitimate. The fair use doctrine is a well established copyright principle based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism. We are disappointed therefore that Yoko Ono and others have decided to challenge our free speech right to comment on the song Imagine in our documentary film. Based on the fair use doctrine, news commentators and film documentarians regularly use material in the same way we do in EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed . Premise Media acknowledges that Ms. Yoko Ono did not license the song for use ...

Expelled‘s receipts decline further

Granted, Mondays are slow days for movie theaters, but Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed grossed only $238,804 at 1,052 theaters, a third of what it grossed on Sunday. [Updated 4/23/08: Tuesday’s sales were $227,232 for a total to date of $3,436,884, according to Box Office Mojo.] After five days in the theaters, the anti-evolution movie has grossed $3.4 million, far from the amount its producers need to break even. Nevertheless, it’s still ranked eighth in gross receipts for all April 18 releases and eighth in receipts for “political documentaries.’ In other words, for the kind of movie it is, Expelled is doing about as well as most observers would expect. Whether it will have “legs” past its first week remains in doubt. Its release followed weeks of carefully orchestrated “private screenings” to sympathetic audiences, a national TV ad campaign, and attention from critics of the movie and its premise — that “Darwinists” persecute anyone who suggests evolution is invalid and that an Intelligent Designer (or God) created life on Earth. The movie’s marketers have encouraged churches, youth groups and Christian schools to organize field trips to see Expelled in the theaters, offering them prizes for the most tickets purchased. Those efforts ...

Expelled box office receipts decline in first weekend

Edited on 4/23/08 to update revised box office receipt figures. Depending on which side you believe, the opening of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed last Friday was either a stupendous success or a dismal failure. The actual answer probably lies somewhere in between. Here are the actual gross box office receipts, from Box Office Mojo, for 1,052 theaters: Friday, 4/18 $1,208,748 Saturday, 4/19 $996,244 Sunday, 4/20 $765,856 For a political documentary, Expelled did really well, placing in the top 10 each of its first three days. Its daily receipts, however, seem to be declining, as the initial hubbub about its release dies out. Detractors of the movie point to the decline in receipts over three days (hardly a statistically valid sample) and predict Expelled will be an overall box office flop. Supporters of the movie on the other hand say its initial success places it among the top grossing documentaries in recent times. Pre-release noise about Expelled was pretty substantial. The movie’s marketing firm screened the flick all over the country beginning in August ’07, mostly to receptive audiences (conservative Christians, mostly). Those folks talked it up, saying it was the best thing since the Book of Revelations. Less sympathetic reviewers ...

Parsing the Expelled Leader’s Guide, last part 3

I realize I have spent an inordinate amount of time and space critiquing the Leader’s Guide for Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, but a careful examination of this so-called resource is valuable. Parsing it allows me to address the fallacies and inconsistencies inherent in the movie, which opens Friday. So far, I have examined the Guide’s own presentations of the scientific “proof” against and cultural consequences of Darwin’s theory of evolution. The Guide — typical of many anti-evo websites — takes quotes out of context, misquotes, repeats factual errors, ignores standard rules of logical argumentation and in general provides no scientific basis for the claim that Intelligent Design is a viable scientific theory. The end of the Guide its readers a list of sources to read, and suggests “talking points” for discussion leaders, pastors and teachers to use. The source list is hopelessly biased toward only one side of the so-called debate. Under normal circumstances, a reference guide would include the major works on both sides of an issue. In this case, though the Guide quotes them several times, neither Darwin’s The Origin of Species or The Descent of Man are on the suggested reading list. Nor is any modern resource, ...

Evidence that Expelled creators stacked the deck

The premise of the anti-evolution movie, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, is that a “Darwinian” hegemony routinely suppresses scientists who try to bring religious faith into discussions of science. In truth, no such situation exists. Omitted from the movie are scientists who are in fact religious and have no problem with accommodating evolution and science in general within their beliefs. It appears the creators of the movie deliberately ignored such scientists to prop up the movie’s false dichotomy between faith and science. Details are here. It’s worth the read, believe me.

Parsing the Expelled Leader’s Guide, part 7

After summarising the last section, Why Does It Matter?, the Guide finishes its informational portion with a two-column comparison of evolution and intelligent design. Guide: Under the heading, “What Is Evolution?”, the Guide offers three variants of the meaning of the word, “evolution.” 1. Evolution is “change over time,” meaning that present-day life forms are different from earlier ones, or that minor changes within species can occur over a short time. 2. Evolution is associated with the theory of common descent, meaning that all organisms existing today have a single common ancestor. 3. Evolution is the “unguided process of DNA randomly mutating with ‘natural selection,’ blindly acting on those changes to gradually produce the variety of all life.” The Guide then cautions its readers that this multiplicity of definitions can confuse discussions when someone takes evidence for Evolution #1 and tries to make it look like it supports Evolution #2 or Evolution #3. Conversely, someone may discuss issues with Evolution #2 or Evolution #3 but is then falsely accused of also rejecting definition of Evolution #1. This is simply not the case, for most scientists who dissent from Darwinism accept Evolution #1. Comments: This bit of sophistry obfuscates the real ...

Expelled panned … times 2

You would hope that Scientific American would pan Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” but the reviewer on Fox News? When the network that carries the likes of Sean Hannity can say “‘Expelled’ is a sloppy, all-over-the-place, poorly made (and not just a little boring) ‘expose’ of the scientific community,” you know the movie gotta be bad.

Parsing the Expelled Leader’s Guide, part 6 1

Why does it matter? The guide continues with smear campaign against evolution, by accusing it of fostering “relativism, religious skepticism and a dehumanized view of men and women.” All this from a scientific theory! But wait there’s more! In particular, it says evolution provides “Darwinists” justification for abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, racism, and Nazism. Therefore, evolution must be wrong. Try our new faith-based “theory,” satisfaction guaranteed. Operators are standing by. Guide: After establishing that most evolutionary biologists are atheists and agnostics, the guide repeats the allegation that evolution is a kind of religion. “Darwinism has become the substitute ‘creation story’ for those who embrace materialism. Materialism is a philosophy which says that the physical realm is the only reality that exists.” This “worldview” leads to moral relativism, religious skepticism and dehumanization. Hmm, sounds like Satanism to me. Whaddaya you think, Davey? Comments: This one paragraph contains multiple falsehoods. First, the Guide preaches a lie, that evolution, a scientific theory, is directly responsible for Social Darwinism, a completely different animal. Anthropologists, sociologists, politicians, demogogues, have applied a bastardized interpretation of evolutionary theory — the fit survive — to social and political structures. Social Darwinism has existed in one form or another since ...

Parsing the Expelled Leader’s Guide, part 5 2

The Expelled Leader’s Guide veers away from examining the scientific evidence “against” evolution and toward the social implications of evolution on page 12. Beginning with insinuations that only some kind of anti-religious conspiracy can keep such a weak theory as evolution in place, the Guide proceeds to link Darwin’s evolution to racism, Adolf Hitler, and eugenics. Guide: As we have seen, there is strong evidence from several areas of science for intelligent design — and equally strong evidence raising serious doubts about Darwinism. Why, then, isn’t the scientific establishment more open to allowing genuine discussion and debate over Darwinism? Could it be that there is more propping up Darwin’s theory than the mere evidence? The Guide then offers data from a 1998 survey of biologist members of the National Academy of Science, of whom 95% identified themselves as atheist or agnostic. It also quotes results from an unnamed 2003 survey of “leading evolutionists,” of whom 87% denied the existence of God and 88% did not believe in the afterlife. Comments: As we have seen, there is NO strong evidence for intelligent design or against evolution, at least in this Guide. The rhetorical question about the “scientific establishment” sets up an ...

Parsing the Expelled Leader’s Guide, part 4 1

Paleontology Evolutionary theory depends heavily on the fossil record, so one would expect the Guide’s treatment of paleontology would be the most extensive of the three areas of scientific research listed in the introduction. It’s not. The Guide repeats the same criticisms of fossils that many creationist and ID proponents have had for decades. There’s nothing new here. Their case is weak. Guide: Somehow “in the face of these ‘impossible’ odds, the first cell could have formed, and over time developed into all” the organisms now existent. Previous organisms would have left a “substantial” record of evolution among the millions of fossils uncovered after 130+ years of searching. In Darwin’s words, “The number of intermediate and transitional links between all living and extinct species must have been inconceivably great.” In fact, the fossil record as a whole, contrary to conventional wisdom, actually gives persuasive evidence against Darwinian evolution, as we shall see. Comments: More than likely, given the size of the “lab” on ancient Earth, there was more than one cell. Bacteria and other one-celled organisms replicate very quickly, so in short order the Earth was probably teeming with life. Genetics supports the hypothesis of common descent from a single ...

Stealthy Expelled pre-release screening at SBTS

There was no private screening of Expelled:No Intelligence Allowed at the Showcase-Stonybrook on March 31 in Louisville, as previously announced, but the producers did show it at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on April 1. Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky. Only SBTS students and staff were invited. Nothing like playing to the choir. A review of it is here. In the interest of fair play, it’s very positive. The official SBTSnews release about the showing is here.

Parsing the Expelled Leader’s Guide, part 3 1

Molecular Biology: The Origin of Life This section of the Leader’s Guide confuses, deliberately or otherwise, evolution with abiogenesis. Evolution deals with the development of organisms in response to their environment. Abiogenesis is a separate theory that suggests that conditions on the early Earth were favorable to bring organic molecules to develop into the first living organisms. Guide: “Darwinian evolution argues that life arose from a primordial sea on a lifeless planet through a chance collision of chemicals, and that over billions of years, this biological accident gave rise to all of life, including humans. In other words: NOTHING + TIME AND CHANCE = EVERYTHING. Modern science has now revealed incredible problems with this explanation.” Comments: The age of the Earth is reliably estimated at 4.6 billion years. The accretion of matter from the early solar system resulted in a young Earth that was very hot, very dry and devoid of oxygen. Volcanism brought water in the form of steam from underground. As the Earth cooled from its formation, water condensed and formed the first oceans. The theory of abiogenesis proposes that the chemicals dissolved in surface water, or in tidal pools, developed through processes not fully understood into the ...
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