“Guest Lecturer” Jack Cahill, a regular columnist at the conservative crank rag WorldNetDaily, is the new feature on Expelled!’s promotional blog. Right off the bat, he stuns us: a handpicked audience of creationists (no outsiders allowed!) apparently loved the film, giving it a standing… well he doesn’t say “ovation” precisely… just that the film brought them to their feet at one point (perhaps during the part where it said “The End”?). Cahill isn’t quite so ambiguous in his own praise though:
Stein’s often funny, always engaging frontal assault on the oppressive neo-Darwinist establishment is arguably the smartest and most sophisticated documentary ever produced on the right side of the cultural divide, on any subject, ever.
We’ll have to see what that really says about conservative cinema. Then there’s this incredible claim:
Although the role Stein plays has been compared to the one Michael Moore plays in his film, the Stein persona is conspicuously brighter and more benign.
Nor do Stein and his producers resort to the kind of editing that make Moore movies something other than documentaries.
They don’t? So they’ll be releasing the full interview footage so we can see the truth of this claim for ourselves?
Stein resorts to no such tricks. He gives certain interview subjects all the time and all the rope they need to hang themselves, unedited.
We already know that this isn’t true: the preview footage of Dawkins very clearly cuts in and out of an ongoing line of thought, enough time for him to say that he’s “hostile to a rival doctrine” but not to explain which doctrine in specific or why (he’s apparently just hostile to all rivals, the batty madman is!) I’ll bet the farm that the rest of Dawkins’ full sentence is something along the lines of “I’m hostile to a rival [scientific] doctrine… that won’t play by the rules of the scientific method.”
As for Dawkins “admitting” that “Darwinism” has atheistic implications, it’s worth recalling that the lie the producers came up with to secure Dawkins’ participation was that they were making a film not on scientific evidence, but rather on the intersection of science and faith and getting Dawkin’s opinions about religion. Presenting Dawkins’ atheistic views and conclusions as the inevitable implications of evolutionary biology as a whole is thus pretty solidly of out context.
To Stein’s astonishment, Dawkins concedes that life might indeed have a designer but that designer almost assuredly was a more highly evolved being from another planet, not “God.”
Again, we already know that Dawkins did not concede any such thing: Dawkins has never ruled out the philosophical possibility of a designer: he’s argued that the evidence does not support it, and for most conceptions of a designer, is against it. Hardly the same thing at all. And as anyone who has read his writing on the subject would know that Dawkins is in this case musing over a particular speculative possibility given some set of assumptions, not making a claim that this is what he believes.
And… well, wait a minute, but that’s pretty much it. Aside from marveling at Stein hobnobbing with two other Jewish creationists at the Berlin wall and a bunch of clumsy swipes at other random issues, that’s the entire substance of the “review.” No explanation of what evidence the film provides demonstrating that Intelligent Design has scientific merit. No justification for any of the film’s accusations about unjustified persecution or presentation evidence contradicting evolution. Just that Stein is portrayed on film as getting the better of Dawkins (who from the perspective of biology as a field, is just some random zoologist, not the King of Biologists that Cahill seems to believe he is) in a misleading interview, which apparently makes Cahill gleeful, along with a whole lot of the usual posturing about how people have dared, dared, to criticize the film.
Cahill is, of course, not some random neutral observer: he’s been part of the Intelligent Design PR campaign for years now, most famously with his extensively debunked misrepresentations of the Richard Sternberg “discrimination” case featured in the film. Unfortunately, as seems to be the norm for this next generation of ID promoters, Cahill’s response to someone pointing out his manifold errors and misrepresentations was just as lacking in substance as this latest review: 90% whining about being called a hack, 10% just claiming that he was misrepresented, and 0% actually documenting any misrepresentation.
At least previous generations of ID proponents such as Michael Behe actually tried to make substantive arguments, even if they were misleading and ultimately unsuccessful. This new crop of cranks apparently can’t even keep up with that low standard.