Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/28/fundy_dupes/
Fundy dunderheads make monkey of monkey man
Richard Dawkins is not amused
Evolution's evangelist Richard Dawkins was left steaming after creationist filmmakers used interviews with him and other prominent atheists in a film promoting intelligent design.
According to reports, Dawkins and the others were invited to appear in a documentary called Crossroads, which was to be a debate about creationism vs Darwinism.
But the film, now titled Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed and set for a 12 February US premier, takes a pro-creationist stance, leaving Dawkins et al. feeling as though they have been duped.
Speaking at the Atheist Alliance convention in Virginia, Dawkins said: "I was never given a clue that these people were a creationist front," adding that he wouldn't have agreed to take part in the documentary if he had known its purpose.
Here at El Reg we are not known as supporters of the creationist or intelligent design camps, and we'd love to swing into a full and hearty rant about the evils of those crazy god-bothering loons in the US etc, really we would (you should see the letters bag when we have a pop at them. Hilarious).
But in this case, we can't really see that Dawkins has much to complain about.
According to a letter Dawkins himself has made public, Mark Mathis, a producer for Rampant Films, the firm behind the documentary, sold the idea to one participant, Professor Paul Myers, as follows: "We are in production of the documentary film Crossroads: The Intersection of Science and Religion... we are interested in asking you questions about the disconnect/controversy that exists in America between evolution, creationism, and the intelligent design movement."
The title of the film changed, but there has been no suggestion from Dawkins that the interview did not proceed along these lines.
Here is a quick media studies lesson: like it or not, journalists don't have to tell you the full scope of an article or documentary they are working on, and will sometimes try to keep the full picture from you if they think you might be hostile to the story you are trying to tell. It might be a little bit naughty, but it happens all the time, even here at El Reg. You're shocked, we know.
Misrepresentation is another thing entirely. But we suspect Dawkins and his mates are upset because their participation in the film makes them look a little foolish. Dawkins, of course, has made programmes himself in which his "opponents" don't come off looking quite so hot, so perhaps this is a object lesson in karma, eh? (Not that this would exist in a completely random Universe)
The filmmakers insist they did not mislead anyone, and that the film's name was changed on the advice of marketing experts. ®