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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Looking a gift horse in the mouth

Fatheaded Ed Brayton says,

I've mentioned before the documentary Expelled, an ID propaganda film claiming rampant persecution of ID advocates. It will recount the entirely made up tales of martyrdom for Richard Sternberg, Guillermo Gonzalez and a couple others. PZ Myers and Genie Scott, it turns out, were interviewed for the film under highly dishonest circumstances. The producers lied to them about the nature of the movie to get them to do interviews.

"Highly dishonest circumstances"? The producers made no promises about how the interviews would be used. A letter from a producer to PZ Myers said,
.
Hello Mr. Myers,

My name is Mark Mathis. I am a Producer for Rampant Films. We are currently in production of the documentary film, "Crossroads: The Intersection of Science and Religion."

. . . . We are interested in asking you a number of questions about the disconnect/controversy that exists in America between Evolution, Creationism and the Intelligent Design movement.

Why should answers to an interview -- or willingness to be interviewed -- depend on how the interview is going to be used? That would be dishonest, wouldn't it? These people who are asked for interviews should be grateful for the opportunity to publicize their views -- most of us are not so lucky. These people should not look a gift horse in the mouth. People have nothing to lose by granting an interview, because if one is not interviewed, it is certain that one's views are not going to presented at all. Also, refusing to grant an interview unfairly impairs the would-be interviewer's ability to present a balance of viewpoints.

Edward Humes claimed that he was neutral about the ID/evolution controversy when he asked to interview Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute, but Casey was very suspicious and declined to grant a full interview. Humes' book "Monkey Girl" condemned intelligent design but Casey missed an opportunity to have his views presented in the book.

It was also reported that Discovery Institute staffers "stonewalled" requests for interviews for a PBS Nova TV show about the Kitzmiller v. Dover intelligent design case.

Also, Francis Collins made such a big stink about being included in the Darwin-to-Hitler TV program "Darwin's Deadly Legacy" that he was cut from the program. If some people would have thought that his appearance on the program meant that he endorsed it, that is their problem.
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