Win Ben Stein’s Mind

Roger Ebert’s scathing and funny belated review of Stein’s ‘Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed’.

The more you know about evolution, or simple logic, the more you are likely to be appalled by the film. No one with an ability for critical thinking could watch more than three minutes without becoming aware of its tactics. It isn’t even subtle. Take its treatment of Dawkins, who throughout his interviews with Stein is honest, plain-spoken, and courteous. As Stein goes to interview him for the last time, we see a makeup artist carefully patting on rouge and dusting Dawkins’ face. After he is prepared and composed, after the shine has been taken off his nose, here comes plain, down-to-earth, workaday Ben Stein. So we get the vain Dawkins with his effete makeup, talking to the ordinary Joe.

I have done television interviews for more than 40 years. I have been on both ends of the questions. I have news for you. Everyone is made up before going on television. If they are not, they will look like death warmed over. There is not a person reading this right now who should go on camera without some kind of makeup. Even the obligatory “shocked neighbors” standing in their front yards after a murder usually have some powder brushed on by the camera person. Was Ben Stein wearing makeup? Of course he was. Did he whisper to his camera crew to roll while Dawkins was being made up? Of course he did. Otherwise, no camera operator on earth would have taped that. That incident dramatizes his approach throughout the film. If you want to study Gotcha! moments, start here.

That is simply one revealing fragment. This film is cheerfully ignorant, manipulative, slanted, cherry-picks quotations, draws unwarranted conclusions, makes outrageous juxtapositions (Soviet marching troops representing opponents of ID), pussy-foots around religion (not a single identified believer among the ID people), segues between quotes that are not about the same thing, tells bald-faced lies, and makes a completely baseless association between freedom of speech and freedom to teach religion in a university class that is not about religion.

Daily Dose of Ingersoll

Many systems of religion must have existed many ages before
the art of writing was discovered, and must have passed through
many changes before the stories, miracles, histories, prophecies
and mistakes became fixed and petrified in written words. After
that, change was possible only by giving new meanings to old words,
a process rendered necessary by the continual acquisition of facts
somewhat inconsistent with a literal interpretation of the “sacred
records.” In this way an honest faith often prolongs its life by
dishonest methods; and in this way the Christians of to-day are
trying to harmonize the Mosaic account of creation with the
theories and discoveries of modern science.

Robert Green Ingersoll – “Some Mistakes of Moses” (1879)

First Person Killed by a Robot

From Wikipedia:

Robert Williams (c. 1954 – January 25, 1979), a worker at a Ford Motor Company factory in Michigan, was one of the first individuals killed by a robot.

The robot was designed to retrieve parts from storage, but its work was deemed too slow. Williams was retrieving a part from a storage bin when the robot’s arm hit him in the head, killing him instantly. In the suit, the family claimed the robot had no safety mechanisms to prevent this, lacking even a warning noise to alert workers the robot was nearby.