December 10th, 2008



Roger Ebert is accused of refusing to review "eXpelled", Ben Stein's documentary on creationism, because he believes in evolution.

In response, Roger Ebert pwns Ben Stein.

"Expelled" is not a bad film from the technical point of view. It is well photographed and edited, sometimes amusing, has well-chosen talking heads, gives an airing to evolutionists however truncated and interrupted with belittling images, and incorporates entertainingly unfair historical footage, as when it compares academia's rejection of Creationism to the erection of the Berlin Wall.

Hilariously, the film argues that evolutionists cannot tolerate dissent. If you were to stand up at a "Catholic and mainstream Protestant" debate and express your support of Creationism, you would in most cases be politely listened to. There are few places as liberal as Boulder, Colo., where I twice debated a Creationist at the Conference on World Affairs, and yet his views were heard politely there. If you were to stand up at an evangelical meeting to defend evolution, I doubt if you would be made to feel as welcome, or that your dissent would be quite as cheerfully tolerated.

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.

The sad thing about this is that I used to like and respect Ben Stein, speechwriter for Nixon or no. His game show, "Win Ben Stein's Money" (referenced to hilarious effect at the beginning of Ebert's article) was one of the most entertaining things on television in its day. But like so many other conservative commentators, he seems to have descended into bitter incoherence in recent years. A shame, really.
vm - veronica

Hitting the big time?

We were watching Top Chef tonight, and as we were zipping past the commercials I thought I saw a familiar mascot flitting across the screen. I had to go back and check, and lo and behold, I was right. It was a commercial for Television Without Pity.

How far they've come from the place where I used to spend most of my online hanging-out time, from the days where they seemed to be threatened with a shut down any minute now, from the OODTs (Outrageously Overpriced Donation Thingies) and the banner ad wars that kept the site alive for at least a year. And now they're advertising on a national cable television netword. Of course, the site is now owned by said cable network. I don't know that I'd characterize this as a big victory for TWoP -- I drop by now and hardly recognize the place. Still, I had some good times there. Ah, memories.