Friday, April 18, 2008

Teach the controversy? Not Ben Stein's way

So concludes this LA Times feature which actually tries to get two alternative perspectives on Ben Stein's movie Expelled (opening today at least according to all the previews on the telly, although I'm not sure even this turkey will open in Fresno at the same time as elsewhere) but fails! Not surprisingly, both Michael Shermer (well known skeptic) and Greg Lukianoff (lawyer on a mission to defend individual rights in education) end up panning the movie, although Lukianoff feels compelled to end his piece by appealing to Ben Stein for help:

We could use some high-profile help here, Ben. With your power and influence you really could help bring a missing dose of liberty back to campuses. But if you only care about ID education, I suspect that you will only be preaching to people who already agree with you.

Really? Why would Lukianoff want to seek help from someone who failed to convince even him (a champion of other students' rights cases) that there is any there there when it comes to intelligent design? A has-been "celebrity" whose latest film, though marketed as this big controversial challenge to the scientific establishment, fails to raise the dust even in the middle of this dust-up involving someone as sympathetic as Lukianoff? Given the spate of bad reviews this documentary is getting, the prospects don't look too good for Ben's profile, nor his "power and influence". So one has to wonder how things are going to turn out for Lukianoff if he still wants to appeal for Ben's help! Just seems odd... but what do I know?

BTW, Michael Shermer is coming to Fresno this evening for another dustup on our campus - a debate with that towering intellect among religious conservatives, Dinesh D'souza, on the little matter of "Does God Exist?". Should be fun, and I hope Shermer is up to the task of maintaining the bar on D'Souza as high as this guy set it last year:

and in part 2:

If he wants to pick up that gauntlet (in addition to the debate), Shermer surely has a big task on his hands, no?


patrick April 23, 2008 at 12:54 AM  

just saw Expelled; Ben Stein's goal in making this flick (i gather) was not to win any popularity contests (this by itself helps to validate his message)... his goal was to promote free thought, especially more thinking about motivations that drive American academia and a lot of other behind-the-scenes worldview that we tend to take for granted.


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