Christian Propaganda as Public Education Is “Very Ham-Handed”

21 03 2008

More on the effects of World Net Daily-style demonizing of intelligent human targets, plus more evidence of how effective media manipulation really is in politics gussied up as news or public education, from clever video omissions coupled with full-color fast cuts purposely put together as propaganda, to endlessly repeating the twisted message in every possible context to dominate the discourse, to gradually wear down, wear out and drown out all counter-INTELLIGENCE — here’s a new report about Ben Stein’s anti-evolution movie “Expelled”:

[PZ] Myers wrote that he caught up with Dawkins and friends after the film, “which I hear is not only boring and poorly made, but is ludicrous in its dishonesty. Apparently, a standard tactic is to do lots of fast cuts between biologists . . . and shots of Nazi atrocities.

It’s all very ham-handed. The audience apparently ate it up, though. . .



9 responses

21 03 2008

Which also applies to the current CA child abuse case reinterpreted by an appellate court and then hyped by media as challenging the legality of all homeschooling.
From the Santa Monica Mirror this week:

But my advice to home school advocates is that they work diligently to keep those outspoken Christians away from the microphones as the home schooling issue receives more attention.

Just as the Christian right wing labored to change government and instead delivered the worst president in American history, so will they injure and possibly defeat the home school movement.

21 03 2008

“Christ-baiting” — like race baiting? Or church-baiting. If there isn’t such a term, there oughtta be. (The last Homeschool Blog Awards spectacle could be listed in the urban dictionary as the example.)

The Washington Monthly describes how race-baiting divides us and sabotages progress and enlightened advocacy for all. Replace “race” with “religion” and you’ll see what I mean about what has been happening in homeschool advocacy:

It’s hard to imagine . . . this many mistakes, of this type. Not saying it’s impossible, merely hard to imagine.
And so it’s worth wondering if there’s not a coordinated strategy among the Clintons to force a conversation over race. . . that will be harmful to his message. If Obama has to spend a lot of time talking about race, it’s hard for him to be the post-racial candidate. If he has to spend a lot of time on divisive topics, it’s hard for him to make an appeal for unity. And if he gets thrown off message at this point in the campaign, it will be exceedingly hard for him to blunt Clinton’s momentum. And, whether it’s a coordinated strategy on the part of the Clintons or not, it’s definitely what’s happening.

What keeps happening to me and other creatives, scientists and intellectuals in home education “discussion” is exactly like such race baiting, only using the emotions and stereotypes of populist religious rivalries instead. No one however brilliant, experienced and dedicated to home education freedoms, can be a post-church education voice uniting all parents to honor and support every other parent’s quest to be the best education decision-maker possible, if we all continue to be forced by baiters “to spend a lot of time on divisive topics.”

So it seems like home education advocates need one safe, smart critical-thinking place where we who are willing and able, can intelligently examine and analyze these claims and frames, without being effectively drowned out by old-time-religion Christian extremists at every microphone.

Laura and/or Pam, if you’re reading, is it perhaps time now for NHEN to try the next generation of such a collegial and credible place, actively or at least in some affiliated way, with a platform or workspace? (Technically I don’t even know what I’m asking, obviously!)

But some of us have long felt the need for it in some form, and now that need seems to be really ratcheting up. Surely not ALL home education advocacy work need be dominated by the same old ham-handed, propagandist, biblical dominionist mike-grabbing.

(Was that clear enough?) 😉

Am I finally rising to the bait? Like Obama says, let’s get it out in the open, talk honestly about it without shouting, sulking, spin or sophistry, so that maybe someday, we can finally move toward that light . . .

21 03 2008
Nance Confer

Really. We can speak the truth. It won’t kill us. A lot of white people, no matter what generation (talking heads are trying to hide behind the idea that only older people feel this), get nervous when a black man gets on the elevator. Just like Obama’s gramma. Say it, see it, deal with it.

Same with the domination of so much of our public thinking time by the unthinking and fact-challenged (without the good grace to even be embarrassed about it). Point out what garbage so much of this crowd manipulation is. Bring it out in the open every time. Confront it. Make it slink away.

I wouldn’t want NHEN’s forums to be opened up again if all comers would be welcome and those with endless time and no scruples were free to ruin it by forcing the discussion to more and more narrow hot-button issues — often invented out of whole cloth.

It could be better than that though. It could be reality-based and say it loud and proud.


21 03 2008

That’s right! no baiting, no devolution . . .

22 03 2008
Nance Confer

Something I just came across via Doc’s blog (


22 03 2008

And we can start using Sharlet’s Revealer-style journalist questions among ourselves: “. . .explain how Revelation will help them make decisions? . . .it’s really time to take faith seriously, including its uses and abuses in a democracy where piety and cynicism have long been comfortable companions.”

23 03 2008
JJ Ross

Dawkins and Myers discuss the incident over here, with Dawkins offering his (low) opinion of the movie. Meanwhile, Myers’ daughter, Skatje, reviews Expelled here.

Cock of the snook to the Institute of Emerging Technologies. Russell Blackford PhD LLB is a fellow of the IEET, an attorney, science fiction author and critic, philosopher, and public intellectual. Russell lives in Melbourne, Australia where he teaches in the School of Philosophy and Bioethics at Monash University.

He goes on about how Thinking Parents might respond and why:

Enjoy all this, folks, but take it seriously at the same time. It’s clear enough that there are people in the US (and elsewhere) who will never give up their bitter rearguard resistance to the main findings of modern biological science. These folks are intensely motivated, well-resourced, and supported by a huge proportion of the American public.

Those of who us who are committed to the cause of reason can have a laugh about this, but we mustn’t just sit on the sidelines laughing. The ongoing struggle against evolutionary science has had its political successes. . .

This is not a struggle that any legitimate scientist, or any other rational person, ever asked for, but we are now involved in it whether we wanted to be or not.

It may not always be clear what you and I can do as individuals when confronted by something like Expelled and the publicity machine that will now drive it. All the same, I do ask my readers reflect on it, and that you take a step or two to defend genuine science in whatever way you can.

25 03 2008
Let’s Play “Lose Ben Stein’s Movie” « Cocking A Snook!

[…] in Minnesota, home of Pharyngula-famed PZ Myers, his even more famous colleague from across the pond Richard Dawkins wasn’t expected, hence […]

8 04 2009
Easter Classics: Hot Cross Buns, Edible Legos, Charlie Crist’s Egg Roll « Cocking A Snook!

[…] we may be left holding nothing but Easter ham (or ham-handed Christianity) to call Education, each spring or any other time of […]

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