As the pro-intelligent design documentary "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" makes its way to select audiences, its producers worry that intelligent design opponents may try to sabotage it even before the official release date.
Among a list of major concerns is that opponents may try to damage the film's reputation through word of mouth before it reaches audiences later this month, or release bootleg copies in an attempt to destroy the film's commercial value.
That seemed close to happening when two vocal atheist scientists, Richard Dawkins and Paul Zachary "PZ" Myers, attempted to sneak in a screening two weeks ago in March.
While Myers was promptly recognized and denied entry to the event, Dawkins was allowed entry because of what producers called his "honorable" reputation.
Both men, however, were equally critical of the film's contents.
Dawkins – who along with Myers is among the scientists interviewed in the film – used the opportunity after the screening to criticize what he said was the use of quotes and segments out of context for a film that he had believed would be pro-evolution.
Myers also criticized the film in his blog later that day despite the fact that he was not present for the screening.
"Apparently, a standard tactic is to do lots of fast cuts between biologists like me or Dawkins or Eugenie Scott and shots of Nazi atrocities. It's all very ham-handed. The audience apparently ate it up, though. Figures. Christians have a growing reputation for their appreciation of dishonesty," Myers wrote.
In the movie, actor Ben Stein explores the long-standing controversial debate between supporters of Darwinism and proponents of intelligent design. Through interviews with experts and professors from both camps, he discovers an elitist scientific establishment that punishes the scientific proponents of intelligent design because they reject some of the claims of Darwin's theory of evolution.
"If you just stand up and question Darwinism – that's it – your career is over," Caroline Crocker, a former biology teacher at George Mason University, shared in the film's trailer.
She is among several professors featured in the film who claims they were ridiculed, denied tenure and even fired in some cases for discussing problems with Darwinism.
Dawkins and Myers, along with scientist Eugenie Scott, allege they were tricked into being interviewed for the film. Premise Media Corporation, the makers of the film, however, have denied any wrongdoing.
"There is some serious mistreatment and downright reprehensible behavior going on here," said Executive Producer Walt Ruloff, "but I can assure you it's not coming from us.
"We're just the ones exposing it."
More recently, producers of the film bumped head with Myers when the biologist crashed a private teleconference for the film last Friday.
Myers used the opportunity to speak at length of the "the falsehoods propagated in the film" before he was asked to sign off by the producers.
In his blog later that day, Myers gave his own version of the incident, writing that the producers were ignorant in believing that racism and anti-Semitism were products of Darwinism.
"Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" is currently set to be given a wide release on April 18.