Expelled!: The Intelligent Design Flick so Bad They Have to Pay You to See It

Reader onein6billion notes that the Intelligent Design flick Expelled! is continuing to ramp up their marketing campaign, this time with an offer to pay “Christian” schools at least 5 dollars or more per ticket if they bus students to theaters.

In speaking with Christian Schools, we’ve found that hosting a school-wide “mandatory” field trip is the best way to maximize your school’s earning potential. Send a field trip home with your middle school and high school students, have each child pay for their own ticket, then collect the stubs at the door once you get to the movie theater. With this model, you also will be able to benefit from the ticket stubs purchased by parents who choose to come as well.

The marketing gurus behind Expelled! seem to be trying to replay their success in promoting Passion of the Christ, but this particular tactic seems cheap and hokey in comparison. Their motive is pretty hard to miss (emphasis added):

Q: Do we have to go to the movie on a particular day to be a part of the fundraising program?

A: Not at all. HOWEVER, it is important for a movie to have a stellar showing at the box office on opening weekend. Therefore, we will only be able to accept stubs submitted within two (2) weeks of the movie releasing in your area.

Important why? For financial reasons, obviously (what movie wouldn’t want the good press of a big opening weekend?), but also, I suspect, because the films’ commercial success (or at least apparent success, even if they have to pay to fill the seats) is a critical talking point for their larger campaign. If the movie duds out, so will the chance to fire up anti-evolutionary activism all around the country.

But what’s really notable here is the way in which the promotional page makes no mystery of which choir this movie is preaching to. The Expelled!’s boilerplate ID rhetoric claims that it’s all about science overlooking evidence for theism, period. But the film’s producers seem to have entirely forgotten about the existence of other theistic or even creationist schools (let alone public schools) when it came time to market the picture. Jewish parochial schools aren’t mentioned in this campaign, nor are Muslim schools, despite both equally believing that the “world was designed by a creator.” It’s an especially bizarre oversight given that their star is Jewish (albeit one that all but worships Christianity as a cultural and political force).

Like much of the rest of this production, this omission seems downright clumsy. Most of the Intelligent Design proponents the movie profiles have worked hard (whether sincerely or no) to try and show that their arguments are valid and scientific, rather than simply a mask for their religious beliefs. Seemingly missing the point of all of that, Expelled! instead wears its religious motives as an unapologetic badge of pride. Expelled! likewise seems to parrot ID’s usual ecumenical rhetoric (“world was designed by a creator”) without understanding that then immediately singling out Christians alone sort of spoils the effect.

Update: Over at the Austringer, a commenter puts two and two together and notices that “mandatory” field trips coupled with “kids must pay for their own tickets” is not exactly a way to win over parents, particularly when those parents find out that the school was getting kickbacks for the shakedown.

Advertisements

12 Responses to Expelled!: The Intelligent Design Flick so Bad They Have to Pay You to See It

  1. Ebonmuse says:

    Oh, I can’t wait for the next time some ID-friendly school board gets hauled into court. We’re going to have a field day with the people who claim intelligent design isn’t a religious belief. Can’t you just imagine the questions a plaintiff’s lawyer could ask after perusing sites like this?

  2. pip says:

    So they have a program to pay only Christian schools for sending their students to the movie? Boy oh boy, talk about preaching to the choir. What a pathetic bunch. Isn’t this what’s called rabble rousing?

  3. Jacklyhunter says:

    This doesn’t really surprise me. I used to work in cinema, and film distributors will do anything to get bums on seats. I’m sure that you can’t wholly blame the creationists. Although I’ve not heard of this particular strategy to get a big opening weekend for a film, it is not unusual for distributors to host special screening sponsored by the press or businesses. The audience claim free tickets, but the sponsors money goes into the box office take as do the admissions figures. You should also note the day of release, to boost figures for a good opening films will open much earlier in the week. Usually films open on a friday, weekend box office is 3 days, but I’ve known films to open on thurs, weds or even a tuesday. All contributing to the films opening box office.

    Often, such big opening weekends kill the film dead because the film is not very good. Such tactics are used because it is the only way to boost box office because the film can not sustain itself, because its rubbish. I guess this is the real reason why the creationists are using such a tactic. The film is crap, no one will want to see it anyway, and will probably disappear without being noticed.

    Maybe we atheists should just stay quiet, it might just go away.

    If it opens in the UK, I might make some calls, see if I get any old ticket stubs see if they will give me money. Having said that, most people will be disappointed to find out its not a comedy, just another disaster movie.

  4. […] reveal the true underlying force behind the ID movement: Christian Creationism. As pointed out on The Bad Idea Blog, it is curious that on the one hand, leaders of the ID movement claim that ID is not about religion […]

  5. pilgrim says:

    No creationist here (be aware though that that term has more than one meaning) but I have to laugh at so many who think Darwinism and its cohorts are NOT religion!

    I’d like to see the movie.
    There’s a lot of bad science out there (I’m an ex-smoker who would love to expose the rubbish that was credited as “science” which made smoking the only real crime anyone could commit!) – why are you all up in arms about ID??

  6. Bad says:

    but I have to laugh at so many who think Darwinism and its cohorts are NOT religion!

    You know, critics of evolution seem to do a lot of laughing. A lot of snickering, baiting, insulting, psychoanalyzing, and all the rest. But somehow it never really gets beyond that point, and this movie looks to be a litany of those previous tactics. But where are the arguments? Where is the evidence?

    Why, exactly, is it so risible to note that evolutionary biology is not a religion? Catholic biologists who agree with evolutionary biology: do they have TWO religions, according to your calculations? Evolutionary biology is a scientific theory, based on evidence and inference. It isn’t a worldview. It doesn’t have a plan for our lives. It doesn’t tell you where to go on Sunday, or any other day. There are no rituals, no ceremonies. It’s doesn’t, in fact, rely on people doing anything at all to observe it or care about it.

    It’s a scientific theory. How is it a religion? Do tell.

    There’s a lot of bad science out there (I’m an ex-smoker who would love to expose the rubbish that was credited as “science” which made smoking the only real crime anyone could commit!) – why are you all up in arms about ID??

    I post a lot about all sorts of crummy science and woo, not just ID. But ID is of particular concern because it is so pervasive, and it is a well funded movement with very real political and intellectual goals, and a decent chance at doing real harm to science and education.

    And this “oooo, you’re critical because you’re scared of our amazing truths” implication is basically just another variation on the non-arguments I noted previously: it’s downright silly to make a huge fuss about something, accuse people of being Nazis and part of some vast conspiracy… and then whine when people respond those claims and are critical of the accusations. This movie is chock full of slander and lies, but apparently calling it out on them is some sort of oppression or proof that the lies are actually true.

    That’s a sort of charmingly pathetic defense mechanism, really.

  7. M Ferreri says:

    Where’s the evidence? Give me a break! The DNA code alone is sufficient evidence. Anyone look at a video game progammer’s code would be laughed at to say it happened by random chance. Science is about collecting data and presenting theories equally. That what was fought for at the scopes trial and why it won. Now people want to silence the other side. What a bunch of hypocrisy! As a biologist first, and doctor second, I can’t believe how many people check their brain at the door just so the can believe what they want to believe. That okay really, except when they say I can’t believe what I want to believe. Yes it is a belief system. the bad example of catholic evoltionist is about the same as a catholic mafia hit man. you see lots of people compartimentalize their beliefs when there is obvious conflict rather than resolving it. But,let’s not forget many scientists give lip service to evolution just so they don’t lose their jobs,tenure or grants. That what this movie is all about. Challenging intollerant elitists who dont want opposing views aired. In a free society, squashing debate on science is wrong. Don’t agree ? Tell it to gallileo. It wasn’t just the church that thought the sun revolved around the earth- until new theories and evidence were presented ,it was the prevailing theory of the day. Science should never be dogma.

  8. Bad says:

    Where’s the evidence? Give me a break! The DNA code alone is sufficient evidence. Anyone look at a video game progammer’s code would be laughed at to say it happened by random chance.

    A really weak analogy (genetic code is hardly anything like video game code) is not the same thing as evidence. DNA, in fact, is very consistent with the sorts of things and patterns we see produced from genetic algorithms. And it provides more clear, definitive evidence of nested clades: i.e. the specific branching ancestry of common descent. And so on.

    Science is about collecting data and presenting theories equally.

    No, that would just be people airing their opinions to no one in particular. Science requires judging theories against evidence and argument. And it involves, like it or not, some theories either failing to hold up, or failing to even be testable. You, and this film, seem unwilling to even acknowledge the possibility that if ID wants to be called science, then it has to be prepared to accept that it could be judged as bad science. That is, after all, the standard that all science is held to: that IS equal treatment. It’s this film that is demanding special protection from criticism and judgment for a set of ideas that it favors.

    Yes it is a belief system. the bad example of catholic evoltionist is about the same as a catholic mafia hit man. you see lots of people compartimentalize their beliefs when there is obvious conflict rather than resolving it.

    But there isn’t any “obvious” conflict to how these people see things. Biblical literalism is not the only religious view. Plus, you’re sort of dodging the issue here. I raised catholic scientists as a counter-example to the claim that evolution requires or leads to atheism. Your objections don’t really speak to that subject at all.

    But,let’s not forget many scientists give lip service to evolution just so they don’t lose their jobs,tenure or grants. That what this movie is all about.

    That’s what it claims, which isn’t the same thing as those claims being accurate or informative of the real situtation.

    Challenging intollerant elitists who dont want opposing views aired. In a free society, squashing debate on science is wrong.

    This claim is just bizarre. Here the proponents of ID have millions of dollars and 90 minutes to air their views. Countless books, websites, and other promotional access in the media and elsewhere. Seems like ID gets to air its views just fine to me.

    Science should never be dogma.

    You allegation that it is is basically just a thin cover for the position that you don’t want it to have any standards.

  9. anses says:

    anses…

    […]Expelled!: The Intelligent Design Flick so Bad They Have to Pay You to See It « The Bad Idea Blog[…]…

  10. maskeen singh…

    […]Expelled!: The Intelligent Design Flick so Bad They Have to Pay You to See It « The Bad Idea Blog[…]…

  11. Ian Andrews says:

    Ian Andrews

    Expelled!: The Intelligent Design Flick so Bad They Have to Pay You to See It | The Bad Idea Blog

  12. Arthur Falcone

    Expelled!: The Intelligent Design Flick so Bad They Have to Pay You to See It | The Bad Idea Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: