Scientists Say Intelligent-Design Movie's Producers Deceived Them Into Participating

September 27, 2007

Several prominent scientists, including Richard Dawkins, the University of Oxford biologist, say they were manipulated, under false pretenses, into appearing in a movie that supports intelligent design, according to today’s New York Times.

The scientists say they were told that the film, a documentary titled Crossroads, would examine the intersection of science and religion. But press notices about the movie, now titled Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, say that it shows how “university professors unmercifully crush any fellow scientists who dare question the prevailing system of belief,” namely Darwinian evolution. The movie also asserts that professors were fired because they challenged evolutionary theory. Included in the film is the case of Guillermo Gonzalez, an astronomer who was denied tenure this year at Iowa State University.

The Discovery Institute, a leading supporter of intelligent design, plugs the movie, which stars Ben Stein and is scheduled to open in February.

But PZ Myers, a biologist at the University of Minnesota at Morris, says on his blog, Pharyngula, that the movie’s producers were dishonest in representing its premise to him. In a post today, he says the original description of the project on the movie’s Web site “was a well-groomed merkin designed to cover the disease-raddled organs of whorish professional liars.” —Richard Monastersky