A new film called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is being previewed in the States. This is a propaganda film promoting Intelligent Design theory (a.k.a. Creationism) and claiming that a number of teachers and academics have been fired from US colleges for teaching Intelligent Design.
The film says that the scientific establishment is holding dogmatically to its evolutionary theory because it's too frightened, or something, to consider the possibility that it might be wrong. And anyone daring to question the established order is summarily removed from the equation.
But some reviewers have said that the people claiming discrimination in the film have not actually been sacked at all, merely moved to different departments, or refused tenure. I suspect they are simply a bunch of incompetent whingers.
But this is the tack ID activists are taking now: passing themselves off as the next Galileo or Copernicus. They're claiming they are the ones with the radical new ideas being unfairly dismissed simply because they're unpopular.
It's all bollocks of course. Anyone trying to pass a theological argument like Intelligent Design off as science deserves all the ridicule they get. Note to any aspiring Einsteins: radical new theories require either observable empirical evidence to support them or at the very least, a soundly reasoned and testable argument. Preferably both. Intelligent Design has neither.
But back to the film. Even before its release, Expelled has been whipping up a lot of controversy.
A number of the scientists appearing in the film, including science blogger PZ Myers, bestselling atheist Richard Dawkins, and editor of Skeptic magazine Michael Shermer have all claimed that they were misled about the film's content when they agreed to take part.
Apparently it was sold to them as a documentary called Crossroads, which would be looking at the intersection of science and religion and presenting a balanced view of both sides of the Evolution/ID debate.
Last week Myers and Dawkins went along to a premiere of Expelled in Minnesota, and while waiting in line, Myers was asked by security to leave the theatre. Amusingly, they let Dawkins in, apparently not recognising him. Dawkins and Myers discuss the whole thing here.
The film is being promoted by Motive Marketing, the company that was incredibly successful with campaigns for The Passion of the Christ and The Chronicles of Narnia, specifically targeted at Christian groups. Expelled is being promoted in the same sort of way, with private screenings for church groups and cash prizes offered to churches and schools for the largest group bookings.
Because of this, it's almost certain to get some traction in the States and get the commentators talking. And no, I don't think it's a coincidence that this is all happening in a US election year.
Expelled is due for release on April 18. I'm looking forward to seeing it.