It’s a familiar sounding story: College professor agrees to let a film crew in to hear him talk about his specialty. Film comes out later spouting creationist views, quite contrary to the professor’s views; much of what the professor did say is left on the cutting room floor.
A couple of years ago, I welcomed a camera crew into my office for some interviews about Old Testament stories. The crew went away and I never heard from them again, until I e-mailed the production company last week to find out what ever became of the footage. A representative of that company promptly e-mailed me back and kindly sent out a screener of the DVD that is scheduled to release in October.
I am not happy with the end result.
This time, however, it’s a professor of Christian religion complaining about the creationists doing to him what they do to biologists with unfortunate frequency. Chris Heard is an associate professor of religion at Pepperdine. Heard said:
. . . I’m a bit upset—no, incensed—at being threaded into a production that sets out to prove a whole bunch of stuff that I don’t agree with, much of which is demonstrably wrong. I suppose I have noone and nothing to blame but my own naïvete, in failing to ask the right questions before saying “Yes” to the camera crew.
The story sounds so familiar because hoodwinking biology profs about the film is old hat — the late D. James Kennedy got Francis Collins to do a long interview about his faith, and then inserted it into Kennedy’s scurrilous and false claims attempting to link Darwin to the horrors of the Holocaust. Collins is famous enough that they yanked his segment when he complained. Dawkins tells a famous story of a crew taping him under false pretenses, and then having the gall to claim Dawkins didn’t know his subject, when Dawkins realized what was going on, and on camera, called an end to the farce. And P. Z. Myers was recently victimized by a group working with Ben Stein for a bizarre farce against academic freedom and science accuracy.
Now we know just how low creationists will stoop in deceit for these films: They’ll lie to a professor of religion, and then they get the religious material wrong.
Tip of the old scrub brush to Pharyngula. And while you’re over at Heard’s blog, Higgaion, take a look around — it’s got some good stuff, including this post on his commentary on the Poseidon Adventure; the film-makers of the commentary on the fictional film got right what Prof. Heard said about Biblical themes. Oh, the irony of Hollywood — the fiction people get the Bible right, the creationists get it wrong. O tempora, O mores.