Saturday, 3 January 2009

News Round - The money behind "Expelled"

A fascinating interview with the man who funded the infamously silly "documentary" which equated scientists with Nazi's whilst achieving critical armageddon here.

A couple of extracts;
The documentary links such scientists to Nazis. The reaction was what one would expect.

"We wanted to generate anger," Ruloff said.

"We always knew we'd get extreme anger on the one side and extreme support on the other. We also think we got extreme interest in the middle."

Even though evangelical leaders such as Focus on the Family's James Dobson cheered Expelled for accusing the scientific establishment of shunning researchers who believe "intelligent design" is inherent in the universe; most film critics went ballistic after the documentary's April 18 release.

I believe there are some reasonable arguments in Expelled. But the documentary hits extremely hard with its message. It has caused bitter polarization.

Throughout our conversation, I probed Ruloff about whether Expelled did more harm than good for the cause of forging more creative links between science and spirituality.

For instance, the website Rotten Tomatoes, which tallies up movie reviews across North America, reported that only 10 per cent of reviewers ranked Expelled positively.

Rotten Tomatoes' "consensus" of critics' opinion on Expelled was that it is, "Full of patronizing, poorly structured arguments ... a cynical political stunt in the guise of a documentary."

That compares to the 83 per cent of all critics who rated positively Michael Moore's documentary, Fahrenheit 911.

The New York Times' film critic called Expelled "the sleaziest documentary of all time."

Jeannette Matsoukis wrote: "Blithely ignoring the vital distinction between social and scientific Darwinism, the film links evolution theory to fascism (as well as abortion, euthanasia and eugenics), shamelessly invoking the Holocaust with black-and-white film of Nazi gas chambers and mass graves."

Ruloff seemed to revel in being dismissed by the mainstream. Despite his financial wealth, he sees himself as a cultural outsider. On this idyllic island near Vancouver, where he and his family have lived for 13 years, Ruloff described the delight Expelled's filmmakers had in capitalizing on the hostile review in The New York Times and elsewhere.

. . .

In an interview this summer with the National Post newspaper, Stein is quoted saying it was Ruloff who initially "got in touch with me and said he wanted to do something about Darwinism and how it leads to social Darwinism, which leads to Nazism and the Holocaust."

But Ruloff said it was actually Stein. Because of his Jewish heritage, Ruloff said, Stein came up with the idea of linking scientific Darwinism to the concentration camps. "It was always Ben Stein. He was fascinated with the underlying scenarios for mass-scale eugenics."

Whatever the case, Ruloff does not hide that he "absolutely" agrees with many points Expelled makes linking Darwinism to abortion and eugenics and death camps. Darwinism does so, he said, because it does not accept "the sanctity of life."

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