Producers of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, the film on Intelligent Design and Darwinism, have rejected claims made by some Darwinist scientists alleging they were tricked into being interviewed for the film.
The charges made by scientists who appeared in the film as proponents of Darwinian evolution entered the public spotlight when the New York Times published an article last month entitled "Scientists Feel Miscast in Film on Life's Origin."
In the Sept. 27 article, three scientists — Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion; Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education; and P.Z. Myers, a biologist at the University of Minnesota, Morris — told the Times that they felt deceived by producers of Expelled.
Premise Media Corporation, the makers of the film featuring television personality Ben Stein, responded Thursday to accusations, denying 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."
In Expelled, Stein – best known for his role in Visine eye drops commercials – highlights the long-standing controversial debate between supporters of Darwinism, which suggests the universe was created by chance, and Intelligent Design, which argues that the creation of life and the universe are results of an intelligent "designer."
Through interviews with both Intelligent Design and Darwinian Evolution proponents, the movie is said to expose "the intimidation, persecution and career destruction that takes place when any scientist dares dissent from the view that all life on earth is the mere result of random mutation and natural selection," according to producers.
"When our audience sees the stories of the real victims of scientific malpractice they're going to be outraged," said Ruloff.
Dawkins, who has earned the label "Darwin's Rottweiler" from the media, protested that makers of the movie did not inform him that they were representing "a creationist front," in an e-mail written to the Times.
He also shared similar complaints with fellow atheist Meyers over the film's title change from Crossroads: The Intersection of Science and Religion to of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Both Dawkins and Meyers claim that changing the film's title amounted to deception.
Mark Mathis, one of the film's producers, countered their allegations and said that they were a "bunch of hypocrites."
According to the makers of the film, even Dawkins admitted that the title of his anti-religion documentary (Root of all Evil?) was chosen as a replacement for the original title late in the process. They maintain that movie's title was changed on the advice of marketing experts.
Furthermore, Expelled producers pointed out that Dawkins is involved in a documentary that attacks Intelligent Design theory. It is the makers of A War on Science who are deceptive, according to Expelled producers, since they approached Discovery Institute as objective filmmakers and then portrayed the organization as religiously-motivated and anti-scientific.
Mathis, who set up the interviews for Expelled, said the scientists who were interviewed were well-informed beforehand.
"I went over all of the questions with these folks before the interviews and I e-mailed the questions to many of them days in advance," said Mathis. "The lady [and gentlemen] doth protest too much, methinks."
Expelled producers have asserted that film will portray the scientists interviewed in a way that is consistent with their actual viewpoints or other public statements.
Despite the issues he has with the film, Meyers says he and other scientists who felt miscast will not seek a lawsuit.
"[N]ot even in my private conversations with Dawkins and Eugenie Scott about this movie has anyone even brought up the possibility of suing or somehow interfering with the release," wrote Meyers on his blog.
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is scheduled for release in February 2008.
On the Web: More information on Expelled and the online trailer at www.expelledthemovie.com.