Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

P.Z. Myers: Right and Wrong

More on Invites, Telecon, and Crashing

March 29, 2008
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With regard to Myers’ unscheduled participation in yesterday’s Motive-arranged telecon, I think Myers has some legitimate complaints. I also think he’s (perhaps understandably) wrong on several points, too. But more on that in a minute.

Motive is promising to make the full audio of the session available, and follow up with a complete transcript, too. They did this for the last one of these they set up, so I’m expecting they’ll follow through on their promises to do the same with this one, too. Bookmark this post, and check back here for those links, as I’ll be updating this post with those when they’re available.

In the meantime, one of Myer’s supporters recorded the call off of what sounds like a speakerphone, and has posted an excerpt of the call: but just the portion where Myers starts speaking up. That’s important to bear in mind if you listen to the clip, and particularly if you read the text accompanying the clip. You’re not getting the full context; but have no fear, that will come in time. Just be careful about drawing too many conclusions from incomplete information.

As to how Myers got on the line in the first place… Here’s something that’s news to me: Motive apparently isn’t the only publicity firm promoting the movie. Panda’s Thumb and other anti-ID media outlets were sent an invite to the call by public relations firm Rogers & Cowan. Panda’s Thumb very naturally disseminated that invitation to others, including Myers. From there, I’ll take Myers’ word that he got the two-way access code by listening to Lauer banter with Burbridge-Bates. (I didn’t come in that early, so I didn’t hear that part.)

So I’ll go on the record here by stating that the producers of Expelled have not done a very good job of managing their marketing strategy; the right hand seems very often not to know what the left hand is doing. And at the very least, if they’re going to run a sloppy, uncoordinated, and vulnerable campaign via unsecure online means, they really shouldn’t be trying to milk and spin every occasion when Myers, et al exploit those vulnerabilities.

At the same time, Myers’ behavior yesterday was pretty abominable. Hijacking someone else’s call like that may very well be a violation of Federal telecommunications laws (as even a couple of Myers’ supporters have pointed out over at Pharyngula) and at the very least is rude and inconsiderate. I doubt that Myers would approve of someone doing the same thing during one of his lectures, for instance. As a journalist, I’d be more than happy to accept an invitation to such a telecon put on by Myers or Dawkins; I just haven’t received one. But I did follow up on Myers’ open invitation to email him with questions, and got a friendly response inviting me to call him on his cell phone. Hopefully, that will come to fruition, and we can add an interview with Myers to our coverage here.

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credit: TheMovieDB.org

Greg is Managing Editor of the movie review site Past the Popcorn, and has written and contributed to a number of books. He is also a curator for Official Best of Fest.

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