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Audio of PZ Myers Crashing the Expelled Teleconference

Yesterday, the PR company hired by Expelled invited me (among many other members of the press and nontraditional media) to participate in a teleconference today with Ben Stein, Mark Malkis, and the other film makers. I was pretty annoyed at the start, since they decided that instead of an open press conference with, you know, free speech, people had to e-mail the PR company with questions that would be read by the PR moderator. The journalists’ lines were all muted.

It was so ridiculous that I could hardly stand to listen, and in fact I couldn’t listen the entire time because I was at work. I left the room with the speaker phone just after Ben Stein and his merry band of creationists finished telling a string of lies about the events that transpired in Minnesota last week. What a shame that apparently, I missed PZ Myers himself bursting into the chat to confront them all directly (by using the 2-way code he overheard them use earlier in the call).

Lucky me, I got it all on tape. And lucky you, here it is (mp3).

Creationists Get Owned

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Oh, and here’s another clip: Ben Stein responding to the question of why he doubts Darwinism when he’s such a high-standing member of the intelligencia.

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And another edit: here’s a transcript I whipped up. If anyone else was on the call or listens to the clip and has a correction, please let me know! It was tough to tell who was doing the talking, but the cast of characters on the line were PZ (dashing hero), Ben Stein (Clear Eyes spokesperson), Paul Lauer (PRick moderator), Walt Ruloff (Expelled producer), and Logan Craft (Expelled producer).

PAUL: Gentlemen, let’s move off this controversy and back to the core message of the film. Um, I understand…

PZ: Let’s not. Let’s not move off of it. You do know PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins have posted substantial criticisms of your movie, don’t you?

(PAUSE)

BEN: Well I haven’t seen them, but why don’t you tell us what they are?

PZ: Yeah

PAUL: Who’s asking that question?

PZ: This is PZ Myers.

MARK (?): Oh, wonderful!

PAUL: You are an…you are very persistent and ah…

(LAUGHING)

PZ: I mean, you’re ignoring the substantial criticisms that made up the

MARK: Bring it!

BEN: Is this another case of you sort of …

PAUL: Uh, PZ? Mr. Myers

MARK: I would like to hear the criticisms

PZ: Well, the idea that Naziism derived from all the same theory is completely bogus…

PAUL: Well, PZ you must not have been on the phone call very long because we already talked about that.

PZ: Yes I heard a bunch of lies about that.

MARK: Oh, more lies, okay, alright…

MARK: They were maybe differences of opinion.

PZ: Yeah, uh, how do you grok the fact that anti-semitism had a long history in Germany before Martin Luther?

MARK: This is out there.

MARK: I would say that having anti semitism out there is much different than a situation where you have the systematic extermination of a race these are two different things, it’s a much more advanced version of it and you have to have

PZ: Have you ever heard of a pogrom?

MARK: . . . you have to have a Darwinian view . . .

PZ: No you don’t, have you ever heard of a pogrom? Those have been going on for centuries.

MARK: We’ve seen millions of people exterminated from the Jewish race for centuries?

PZ: “Have you seen many Jewish people exterminated for centuries?” You are trivializing that to blame it on Darwin.

WALT: Hey Paul? Paul? It’s Walt and Ben here, we’re going to be moving on to our next interview…

PZ: Yeah, but . . . okay that’s logical just run away from substantial criticisms of your film.

PAUL: No uh, Mr. Myers, excuse me, I am the moderator of this call Mr. Myers. As you’ve done previously with trying to sneak in to the film you have come uninvited to this call, okay, and I’m going to ask you to do the honorable thing and you can feel free to listen in and if we have a question for you we will direct that question to you but otherwise you are, you will do the honorable thing…

PZ: You’ll ask me to do the honorable thing and you will do the dishonorable thing and continue your policy of lies.

PAUL: When you have your own conference call which you are in charge of, you may do whatever you wish but this call is our call.

PZ: Uh huh.

PAUL: You are not invited right now and I’m making that clear to everyone who’s listening, you’re demonstrating your tactics by speaking on a call that you are not invited to speak on. I’m going to ask you to remain on the sidelines.

PZ: I’m going to sign off now but I will invite the press listeners to contact me at pzmyers at gmail.com. I’m happy to talk with you about the falsehoods that are being propagated in this interview. Thank you.

PAUL: Thank you.

MARK: That’s too bad, I wanted to talk about it one by one

PAUL: If we have a question for PZ, we can invite him back on and he can answer them.

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Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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34 Comments

  1. No surprises there. Exactly what we expect from these assholes. First, they crow about the lack of substantive criticism, then when they actually receive substantive criticism, they have no response except to ask their critic to kindly shut up while whining about his “tactics”.

    I hope this proved instructive for the members of the press in attendance. The ID argument is a house of cards; the only way they can present it as anything sturdier is to silence anybody who knows enough to counter their bullshit.

  2. Just to add a quickie post script: thanks to my friend and co-worker John for lending me his recorder when I was too stupid to remember to pack mine before heading to work! Otherwise I (and the rest of you) would have missed this moment of comedic brilliance.

  3. “Ben Stein… a high-standing member of the intelligencia.”

    Ahahahahahahahahahaha! Oooohh, mercy. That was the quote of the week for me. I’m going to be giggling like a little Darwinian Nazi schoolgirl for a few days over that one. Thanks Rebecca.

  4. It seems that the logic of Expelled is as follows:

    Evolutionary theory led to the Holocaust, therefore evolutionary theory is incorrect.

    Let’s see how this logic holds up:

    Round earth theory lead to the extermination of Native Americans, therefore the earth is flat.

    Lift theory lead to 9/11, therefore planes can’t fly.

    Anyone else want to take a crack at this logic.

  5. I’ve tried listening to it, but the quality is horrible and I can barely make anything out, let alone know who is talking. Not that I mean to complain, because I’m very grateful that you’ve posted this audio, but I’d love to read a transcript to get a better idea of what happened.

  6. Yeah, sorry about the quality! The conference call was low-quality to start (including some bits where Ben Stein’s line degraded completely, but no one complained), then I had to put it on speaker phone and record it with a fairly simple digital recorder.

    And THEN, that digital recorder has no output plug, so to get it onto my computer I had to play it aloud and record it. I recorded the entire thing that way just using my MacBook, but to capture the PZ affair I tossed the recorder in a closet with a professional mic set-up and recorded it that way.

    Uh, all of which is to say that I’ve posted a transcript and sorry.

  7. The last line from the first clip is a real cake-taker. Just after they demand that PZ leave, one of them has the fucking chutzpah to say “That’s too bad, I wanted to talk about it one by one.” If they wanted to discuss, why didn’t they let him stay on? Why didn’t they let him come to the screening and discuss it there?

    Because they’re fucking cowards, that’s why.

  8. These people really have some nerve. They lie about PZ Meyers sneaking into a movie screening and then they are actually surprised to see him use this tactic after the fact? I think that the article Sam Harris was a part of, showing how there is neuroscientific evidence that people are actually disgusted by falsehoods, sheds some light on what happened here. PZ Meyers was confronted by so many falsehoods at once that it may have been similar to being forced to eat fecal matter. How much can one man take before he must speak out? Granted, PZ Meyers was not invited this time, but considering the tactics used by those involved with creating Expelled, no one should be surprised or that angry that this happened. Unfortunately, it really is a war at this point. When creationists act in a completely uncivilized way, secular liberals must fight back, using tactics that may not always be the most civil. It’s a culture war at this point and war can be ugly… I should mention that I mean a war of words, not of fists or guns (it’s uncivil to a degree!). We need more honest people like PZ Meyers who do not sugar coat things, do not soft their verbal blows, have confidence, have intelligence and have no shame in defending secular/scientific values. Thank you, Rebecca, for making this available to people.

  9. There are numerous cartoons in which a certain rabbit is attacked, abused, threatened, or just aggressively disregarded by those who consider themselves and their affairs far more important than the rights of a mere rabbit. They soon come to regret their mistreatment of that rabbit, Bugs Bunny, as he proceeds to make their lives miserable in the extreme.

    The moral here is that the Expelled cabal should have paid more attention to those cartoons, or they would have realized the probability of dynamite blowing up in their faces like this. The look soots you, fellas!

    ~Wordplayer

  10. To be fair, I think technically PZ probably wasn’t allowed to speak, but just listen. Apparently these type of conference calls happen elsewhere all the time with stock market stuff where investors can listen but don’t have speaking privileges. However, after listening to all the BS that they were putting out I probably would have spoken up too.

    But yeah the ID people are using this to make PZ and science crowd look like miscreants. PZ is definitely right to call out the IDers and Expelled! people on lying and make fun of them, but in this case they might be right in saying he gatecrashed (regardless of how easy it was to do).

    Still, PZ should keep doing what he’s doing.

  11. @CameronP: But the other listeners didn’t know the code that gave one speaking capability. They couldn’t have spoken up even if they had wanted to. And Myers didn’t obtain this code surreptitiously. He signed on to the call a little early and Mathis or some other moron spoke the code, assuming no one else was on.

    My only criticism of Myers regarding this incident is that I think he should have forcefully made the point that he didn’t utilize any underhanded tactics AT ALL to get into the screening.

  12. To clear up any confusion over who was allowed to speak: no one was allowed to speak but the producers, Ben Stein, and the PRicks. ALL the journalists’ lines were muted.

    I agree that PZ gatecrashed. Those were some gates in desperate need of crashing.

  13. Well, you know, there are times when I get tired of cogent arguments. There are times I just wanna be ANGRY and scream “F*CK YOU!!!” and delusional wingnuttery.

    After all, it’s not like cogent reasoning is ever going to change someone’s mind (until they’re ready, I suppose).

    I agree that those gates were in need of crashing. On the other hand, I don’t think we can pretend that it wasn’t a naughty thing to do. Leave the underhanded dishonesty to the Whack-a-Loons. Crash by all means, but let’s revel in the naughtiness.

  14. This story just gets better and better.

    And Rav Winston’s observation that “it’s not like cogent reasoning is ever going to change someone’s mind” is an astute one. PZ could have made much better use his time. He should have just punctuated each one of Stein’s sentences with an armpit fart, indicating in this subtle way the sheer volume of flatulence emanating from Mr. Stein.

  15. Unfortunately I think PZ gave them “evidence” that they can point to which says that PZ crashed the movie, since they now have audio of him crashing their press conference. While you cannot logically link the two, the average American will not be able to spot the fallacy. :(

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