Saturday, September 29, 2007

Richard Dawkins Stereotypes Ben Stein as "Creationist Front"

I thought I would juxtapose two passages from the Cornelia Dean editorial in the New York Times, that was the subject of my last post:

If he had known the film’s premise, Dr. [Richard] Dawkins said in an e-mail message, he would never have appeared in it. “At no time was I given the slightest clue that these people were a creationist front,” he said.

And this:
Mr. Stein, a prolific author who has acted in movies like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and appeared on television programs including “Win Ben Stein’s Money” on Comedy Central, said in a telephone interview that he accepted the producers’ invitation to participate in the film not because he disavows the theory of evolution — he said there was a “very high likelihood” that Darwin was on to something — but because he does not accept that evolution alone can explain life on earth.

That does not sound like he is a creationist to me. If I were Ben Stein, I would be pretty annoyed at Richard Dawkins' false characterization of him as a "creationist front." Dawkins is the one with an issue of honesty, or at least accuracy.

So here is the apparent angle of the story: Dawkins and Eugenie Scott are upset because the movie people did not tell them they were "creationists" or a "creationist front," but if they had told them that, they would have been lying. To put it another way: Dawkins and Scott apparently felt misled, not because they were misled, but because their own ignorant stereotypes led them to an incorrect understanding about the makers of the film.

We should all pitch in and support remedial education for Dawkins and Scott, and perhaps some multicultural sensitivity training.

For some other posts on the problem of stereotyping in the scientific community, read here and here or here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

NY Times Reports on Expelled the Movie

Update: I provide more information and evaluate the claims of deception more fully in my post: False Accusations of Dishonesty.

Cornelia Dean is doing her best to put a negative spin on the movie Expelled, which I wrote about previously. This is a lead article on the Times web site.

Update: Links to most of my posts relating to Ben Stein and this film can be found here.

Dawkins claims he was misled, but the article is very short on the facts of what he was actually told and what release he signed. From reports elsewhere, there did not seem to be any deception at all. The interviewers apparently did not tell Dawkins the exact angle of the film, but what documentary filmmaker does?

Of course, Dean also includes "Cornelia's Creed," which makes it about the tenth "news" article of hers to include the same editorial comment, which I think is demonstrably false. I stopped counting. The link in this sentence takes you to a collection of posts about Cornelia Dean's "journalism."

Check out the film's web site here.

Update: I fixed the link to Cornelia's Creed and clarified a link to more posts about Cornelia Dean.

Update: Links to most of my posts relating to Ben Stein and this film can be found here.