The Square Circuit

Academia, parenthood, living in a bankrupt city, and what I read in the process.

Monday, March 10, 2008

ben stein

I've heard of Big Oil, Big Tobacco, Big Sugar... but "Big Science"? From the NYT this morning:

Shortly before he was to attend a screening in January of the documentary “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” which is about alternatives to the theory of evolution, Roger Moore, a film critic for The Orlando Sentinel, learned that his invitation had been revoked by the film’s marketers.

“Well, you already invited me,” he recalled thinking at the time. “I’m going to go.”

So Mr. Moore traveled to a local megachurch and planted himself among a large group of pastors to watch the movie. In it, Ben Stein, the actor and economist (and regular contributor to The New York Times) interviews scientists and teachers who say that Darwinism gets too much emphasis in the classroom and that proponents of the theory of intelligent design are treated unfairly.

There were nondisclosure agreements to sign that day, but Mr. Moore did not, and proceeded to write perhaps the harshest review “Expelled” has received thus far. The film will open April 18, but has been screened several times privately for religious audiences. Mr. Moore deplored what he perceived as “loaded images, loaded rhetoric, few if any facts” and accused Mr. Stein of using a “Holocaust denier’s” tactics.

Which, of course, was exactly the reaction the moviemakers were hoping to avoid by keeping mainstream critics out.Mr. Stein said in a telephone interview that he had not read Mr. Moore’s review, but that “being compared with a Holocaust denier is nonsense,” adding, “This guy is extremely confused.” He said he decided to participate in the project because “there’s just a lot of people who don’t believe that big science and Darwinism should have a stranglehold on academic life, and they have been waiting for a voice.”

Yes, I am SO tired of Big Science thinking that only THEY have a right to be heard in university science departments. Shouldn't the people decide what's true? Why have speculation, opinion, superstition, hearsay, religious conviction, and moronitude been EXPELLED from science classes? And seriously--we all know, and Mr Stein just reminds us of this, that facts and reality themselves have a well-known liberal bias.

Here's Moore's review. It's sharp--as a rhetorical analysis I'd be proud to see one of my students write it.



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