As its official April 18 release date nears, the hoopla about the anti-evolution extravaganza, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed has made some strange turns.
Last week, organizers of a private screening in Minneapolis Thursday famously ejected a vocal critic of the movie and Intelligent Design/creationism in general, despite his having an invitation to attend it. University of Minnesota-Morris bio professor PZ Myers immediately blogged about his removal in Pharyngula, and the news quickly spread throughout the blogosphere and was even written up in The New York Times.
The producer of the film admits that he had Myers ejected because he wanted Myers to pay to attend the movie. IDist Denyse O’Leary reprinted this tidbit on her blog:
March 24, 2008: Update note from line producer Mark Mathis, who writes me to say:
You should know that I invited Michael shermer to a screening at NRB in Nashville. He came and is writing a review for scientific American. I banned pz because I want him to pay to see it. Nothing more.
As did many other people on either side of the debate, Myers went to the Expelled website to request an invitation to the private screening. After filling out his name, address, phone, etc., Myers got an email confirming his invitation. So, Mathis’ ejecting of Myers was just petty. Shermer and other anti-ID/creationism critics have been allowed to attend.
But this whole invitation process has had a few changes in the last week. When I first looked at the RSVP site, a person could register and indicate how many guests would be accompanying him or her. After the Myers incident, I checked the RSVP site again to register myself for the Louisville screening March 31, only to see that each person attending now has to register, making it harder for ringers like Richard Dawkins to “sneak in” under the wing of people like Myers.
Now it seems it may be impossible to register for (or attend) a private screening at all. As this blogger in Santa Clara discovered, none of the forthcoming private screenings are listed on the Expelled RSVP site, including the March 31 Louisville date. In addition, Calladus says he received an email Friday notifying him that his local screening was canceled because of “technical issues.” I have not yet received a similar notification, but a Stonybrook theater representative today told me no private screenings of Expelled are scheduled for the 31st.
Meanwhile, Myers posted this news on his blog Sunday night, calling attention to the remarkable similarity between an animation in Expelled and one created at Harvard University. Whether the imitation constitutes plagiarism or copyright infringement remains to be seen.
So, what to make of all this mystery and intrigue? It’s hard to say. “Technical issues” could be just about anything, from lack of funding to book theaters for private parties to damaged films to legal issues. It’s going to be interesting to see if Expelled actually makes the April 18 release date.