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Friday, March 21, 2008

Dawkins In, Myers Out

That's what happened last night when evolutionary biologists Richard Dawkins and P.Z. Myers tried to see a private screening of the movie Expelled, which defends "intelligent design" as an alternative to evolution, at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, where they're attending the American Atheists Conference. Myers, who blogged about the incident from the mall's Apple store only moments later, says he was pulled out of line by a security guard who said that film producer Mark Mathis had spotted Myers, barred him from the screening, and asked that he leave immediately (Myers had registered for the screening, as was required, using his real name). Myers' family was allowed in, as, surprisingly, was Dawkins—Myers claiming it's because Dawkins wasn't recognized. "He's in the theater right now, watching their movie," blogs Myers. "Tell me, are you laughing as hard as I am?" Mathis told The New York Times they allowed Dawkins in because he has "handled himself fairly honorably" and likely had come a long way to see the film.
Both Dawkins,
the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford, and Myers, a professor at the University of Minnesota, appear in the film, which they say they agreed to under false pretenses; they were told the movie was called Crossroads and would be an examination of the relationship between science and religion. Greg Laden, an associate adviser with the Program for Individualized Learning at the the University of Minnesota, is compiling other accounts of last night's incident on his blog, and Myers' daughter has posted her review of the movie. —Heather Wax