Wednesday, March 26, 2008

PZ Myers Expels (Bans?) a Commenter For Asking Difficult Questions

A commenter on PZ Myers' blog has essentially raised the same question as I raised here: Was PZ Myers being truthful when he said that he got on the list to attend the screening of Expelled "just like everybody else." Did he receive an invitation to a "by invitation only" event just like everybody else? Or did he improperly game the RSVP system and then mislead others about doing so?

The commenter, going by the name William Wallace, observed:

PZ's claim is akin to a 10-year-old claiming "just about everybody sneaked in through the theater's back door. Really, dad."

My claim is not all that hard to believe. The Expelled blog has described the event as invitation only, and I know that others who were invited attended.

He added the following:

If PZ had initially asserted that he received an email invitation to which he RSVP'd, and that upon RSVPing, that he then received email confirmation, I would have probably believed it, as this is how it worked for the legitimate cases I know about.

But he has been very, very, very careful not to make this claim, as far as I can tell.

PZ Myers response:

William Wallace: You're wrong. You're also a tedious, boring twit.

You have not been invited to post on this site. Since you're so obsessively concerned about the importance of invitations, you should now go away until I formally invite you.

Anything else would be "gatecrashing" or "sneaking", especially since you haven't even bothered to sign in with your real name.


And that is the last we hear from William Wallace. PZ, thanks for clarifying.

William Wallace was then promptly trashed by other commenters, who apparently did sign in with their real names, such as Cheezits, GumbyTheCat, Umlud, Quasarsphere and Bubba Sixpack.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

PZ, Did You RSVP To an Event To Which You Were Not Invited?

PZ Myers has now responded to the press release issued by Premise Media. He fails to repond to one key point in the press release:
EXPELLED was screened for a select Minneapolis grass roots audience on Thursday night. Dr. Myers and noted atheist Dr. Richard Dawkins were not sent invitations to the screening from the producers. Nevertheless, they acquired access to a proprietary online RSVP site, along with a group of other atheists. The producers were notified that Myers and others who were not invited had signed up for the screening.

If he did not get an invitation and improperly got access to the RSVP system, that makes him incredibly dishonest for not disclosing that. He claims that he signed up just like everybody else and "if I was a gate crasher, just about everybody else there was a gate crasher." Oh really? If the others responded to invitations that they had received and Myers did not, is he really just like everyone else? Another great lesson in honesty and morality from a noted expert.

So PZ, did you get an invitation? If not, how exactly did you get access to the RSVP system? Did you know that the RSVP system was for people who were actually invited?

Premise Media Responds to Dawkins' and Myers' Accusations About Expelled Controversy

From their press release:

“It is amazing to see the reaction of PZ Myers, Richard Dawkins and their cohorts when one of them is simply expelled from a movie. Yet these men applaud when professors throughout the nation are fired from their jobs and permanently excluded from their profession for mentioning Intelligent Design,” said producer Mark Mathis. Mathis was at the event that has raised this controversy.

Mathis continued, “I hope PZ’s experience has helped him see the light. He is distraught because he could not see a movie. What if he wasn’t allowed to teach on a college campus or was denied tenure? Maybe he will think twice before he starts demanding more professors be blacklisted and expelled simply because they question the adequacy of Darwin's theory.”

EXPELLED was screened for a select Minneapolis grass roots audience on Thursday night. Dr. Myers and noted atheist Dr. Richard Dawkins were not sent invitations to the screening from the producers. Nevertheless, they acquired access to a proprietary online RSVP site, along with a group of other atheists. The producers were notified that Myers and others who were not invited had signed up for the screening. They were also aware that Dawkins, who oddly used his formal surname "Clinton" instead of Richard to sign up, was in attendance.

So PZ, did you get an invitation like the others at the screening? Why don't you explain how you got access to the RSVP site?

Richard Dawkins Confirms That "Expelled" Will Be an Important Film

Richard Dawkins, through his actions if not his words, has made clear to the world that he is extremely interested (and I am guessing terrified) of the film Expelled, which will be in theatres in April 2008. How else can you explain his efforts to get into an early, free screening of the film in Minnesota, including going in under the (technically accurate but intentionally misleading) alias, "Clinton Dawkins." Given all the pre-release drama, this film is going to be a must-see water cooler discussion phenomenon.

According to one witness account, there was a Q and A session debate between Dawkins and Mark Mathis, the film's producer:

Dawkins stood up and abruptly started firing off questions at Producer Mark Mathis - who politely and very professionally informed the audience that this person was well-known atheist Richard Dawkins.

Dawkins stood up and questioned Mathis on several issues. He questioned Mathis on why P.Z. Myers was denied access to the free preview showing of the movie.

Mathis calmly responded by explaining that Myers had simply not been an invited guest to this free preview and pointed out the fact that he could pay to see the movie after its release.

(He also joked that he enjoyed the idea of Myers paying $8.00 to see the movie along with everyone else).

It certainly did not escape notice of myself or many in the theatre that Dawkins apparently also had entered into the free movie preview apparently as an uninvited guest.

After Mathis responded to Dawkins' first objection - Dawkins then claimed to object to the film on the premise that any interview he had done in the film was under the assumption that he was interviewed by Ben Stein and Mark Mathis for a film that was to be about the even-handed look at the Intelligent Design vs. Darwinian evolution controversy. The conversation basically went like this:

Dawkins: I agreed to be in the film under the assumption that I was being interviewed by Ben Stein (and by Mark Mathis) for a film that was to take an even-handed look at the Intelligent Design/Darwinian Evolution controversy.
Mathis- It was a fair treatment.

Dawkins--You got me into the movie under false pretenses.

Mathis- I told you that it was a movie about intelligent design and Darwinistic evolution controversy + (various other things that were in the movie)

Dawkins: I was bending over backwards to define an example of what could be a potential source of life's origins. Repeats 'I was bending over backwards' several times. You ridiculed the alien concept.

Mathis- I did not ridicule the concept- we just showed in the movie what you said in response to the question.

Mathis- I want to correct- what you said on the radio show wasn't accurate; wasn't true (more discussion took place)

Dawkins- sorry I did misstate but it was a minor point.

Mathis:- I didn't think it was minor - you called me a liar.

At one point during the exchange between Mathis and Dawkins one unidentified audience member in the audience even politely stood up in obvious disagreement with Dawkins and correctly suggested that the main point of the film was that Intelligent Design should be presented along with Darwinian evolution.

Dawkins then attempted to try to continue in debate with Mathis even though Mathis had previously said that wanted the after-movie Q & A session to be about Q & A and not "debate". I really admired Mathis' smooth, controlled handling of the entire evening - especially the Q & A session. He provided the forum with the type of welcoming and respectful open conversation - the kind of conversation and open discussion the film itself suggests should be much more commonplace - especially within the academic community in America.

What is especially amusing is PZ Myers' and Richard Dawkins' gloating about tricking security into letting Dawkins in. It appears that this was fully intentional and the best PR move Mathis could have made. He quite properly said "no free entry" to the second-rate academic Myers (who has made clear his disdain for civil discourse and civil rights, and has falsely accused Mathis of lying), and he debated the noted author Richard Dawkins and allowed Dawkins to embarrass himself publicly and confirm the importance of the film. You cannot get better publicity than that.

Other posts about this film can be found here.