God’s Not Dead Watch Party

I know I’ve written about the movie God’s Not Dead before. It’s supposedly going to be “in theaters” on March 21, 2014, but I’m guessing it’ll be in a handful of theaters for about 20 seconds before going straight to DVD. And when it does, I am so going to organize a watch party. I think this is going to be (unintentional) comedy gold. Here’s the trailer, if you haven’t seen it:

Seriously, no philosophy professor would ever do that. They’ve created a ridiculous caricature. The professor couldn’t be any more of a straw man if they put horns on his head and had him carrying a pitchfork and eating Christian babies in front of the class. It reminds me of all those stories that fundies love to pass around, usually involving a fake conversation between some apologist and an anonymous person on a plane or a train. That anonymous person is usually a scientist but they’re inevitably stumped by the most inane of arguments.

“So I’m sitting on a plane next to a PhD biologist and we start talking about evolution. And I asked him, ‘If we evolved from monkey, why are there still monkeys?’ And he immediately burst into tears, realized he was living a lie and gave his life to Christ.”

Because that’s just so plausible, right? Now that kind of inanity has been turned into a movie.

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  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    The professor couldn’t be any more of a straw man if they put horns on his head and had him carrying a pitchfork and eating Christian babies in front of the class.

    Maybe so -but the latter depcition could make a better movie! 😉

    On the positive side – movie that argues involves debating this philosophy could make a nice change from a lot of (even more) mindless rubbish. If this idea was done well it could actually be quite good – perhaps?

    Sounds like this professor is modelled on Dawkins though made deliberately less smart.

  • ianeymeaney

    How does a person go from being Hercules to…this?

    All jokes aside, that was the best bit of unintentional comedy since the last time Pat Robertson opened his yap.

  • http://en.gravatar.com/mrupright Mr. Upright

    Okay, do these duck people have to be in everything?

  • Michael Heath

    “So I’m sitting on a plane next to a PhD biologist and we start talking about evolution. And I asked him, ‘If we evolved from monkey, why are there still monkeys?’ And he immediately burst into tears, realized he was living a lie and gave his life to Christ.”

    That reminds of, “I saw an icy waterfall, therefore Jesus is God.” [1, paraphrased for brevity]. This non sequitur’s more troubling since it’s the claim of a real person, and a scientist to boot, where the one Ed provides is an imagined strawman, albeit a popular belief.

    1] Francis Collins in his book, <The Language of God, pg. 225 of the paperback version. Full text can be read using Amazon’s Look Inside the Book feature.

  • Michael Heath

    We’ve been recently discussing how popular it is for Christians to falsely believe and dishonestly claim that atheists really believe in the existence of God. The title of this movie, God’s Not Dead, exemplifies this lie.

    There is no resonating argument claiming that God is dead. Instead the argument is whether a god or gods exist along with the lack of evidence or reason regarding the nature of any particular god.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Michael Heath “That reminds of, ‘I saw an icy waterfall, therefore Jesus is God.’ [1, paraphrased for brevity]…”

    Now you’re just being ridiculous. It was a waterfall that split in three. So there!

  • abb3w

    @0, Ed Brayton

    It reminds me of all those stories that fundies love to pass around

    Fundies seem unusually fond (and uncritical in reception) of such attitude bolstering parables-in-guise-of-anecdotes. I wonder if there’s anything in the experimental psychology literature on the phenomenon?

  • jnorris

    I am always amazed at how much True Christians ™ really believe the Anonymous Professor Tale works. This looks like they used Chick tracts as the script.

  • http://www.improbablejoe.blogspot.com Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    I’ve been arguing on and off for the last couple of weeks that theists aren’t stupid, deluded, or mentally ill. They are wrong, but they’re wrong because they’ve been taught religion from an early age by people who it is reasonable for them to trust. If most of the things my parents, teachers, and community leaders have taught me have turned out to be either true or not obviously false, why would I not believe them about religion too?

    Once having been taught religion in the way that is common in America, movies like this act as a positive reinforcement of what they already believe. It seems foolish and ridiculous and not remotely convincing to us, but to them it is like a refresher in why Christianity is better than everything else.

  • Artor

    I’m not going to watch that clip, because I’ve heard this same stupid story many times already. Lemme guess, that guy with the bandana? That’s Einstein, right?

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    @2:

    Kevin Sorbo was not a particularly compelling Hercules or anyone else that he’s portrayed.

    @9:

    Lot’s of people in Germany used to believe that jews, blacks and slavs were subhuman. They were shown to be wrong.

    Lot’s of people in the U.S. used to think that OWNING black people was right and just. They were shown to be wrong.

    That KKKristianity is considered to be a good thing does not make it so.

  • unbound

    If he isn’t dead, he doesn’t seem to have much power left as the extent of his power seems to be showing up on toast…

  • jaxkayaker

    ianeymeaney: “How does a person go from being Hercules to…this?”

    Not to mention, how does a person go from being Superman (Dean Cain) to this?

  • D. C. Sessions

    I don’t see why it should be surprising that actors don’t always have a firm grasp of reality.

  • John Pieret

    Well, it’s a better portrayal of university professors than in Big Daddy!

    Oh, wait a minute … maybe not.

  • Subtract Hominem, a product of Nauseam

    Okay so when does Capt. Peter Abelard, USMC show up to kick some ass and save the day?

  • Michael Heath

    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar writes:

    I’ve been arguing on and off for the last couple of weeks that theists aren’t stupid, deluded, or mentally ill. They are wrong, but they’re wrong because they’ve been taught religion from an early age by people who it is reasonable for them to trust.

    Well, you’re wrong. If they were merely taught wrong ideas, they’d be able to adapt to better ideas. Instead science reveals conservative Christians increase their commitment to their wrong beliefs when confronted with facts that falsify those beliefs, as do others who hold strongly held religious beliefs or are fierce political partisans (tribalists).

    We have scientific research on this topic so we don’t need to argue merely from our own imagination. I suggest starting with Chris Mooney’s Republican Brain and then move on to Bob Altemeyer’s work, which is well reported in his free book Authoritarians. Mooney’s book provides an overview of the science, especially over the past 10 – 13 years. Altemeyer drills down into authoritarians, who are the most politically powerful voting base of theists here in the U.S.

    For example, the children of conservative Christians are not merely “taught” wrong ideas, they are indoctrinated Such indoctrination affects their ability to think clearly and critically on a number of topics, mostly those revolving around politics, religion and due to the latter, science. This is why we see them depending almost solely on indefensible, delusional and idiotic logical fallacies in areas that impact public policy. This is why we see them so blindly submissive to those they perceive as their legitimate leaders.

    This defective way of thinking still allows them to compartmentalize it to politics and religion while mostly avoiding such on other topics, like in their work life. So we get the aura they’re sane and just wrong if we don’t dig into the research, but even that casual and shallow perspective avoids the facts on why they’re stupid and crazy on religion and politics.

  • raven

    I am always amazed at how much True Christians ™ really believe the Anonymous Professor Tale works.

    I doubt if they really believe it.

    1. They simply don’t care whether it is true or not. Once you’ve cast off from reality, it doesn’t matter what is true or not.

    2. These stories are basically big Teddy Bears for the xians. It’s aimed at shoring up their faith. You have to wonder how many of them are really sure there is an invisible Sky Fairy. They certainly don’t behave like there is one.

    Probably not real sure. Why are there platoons of Moslem suicide bombers and very few fundie xian suicide bombers? One theory is that the Moslems are sure they will get their 72 virgins in Paradise while the xians aren’t sure they aren’t just going to end and go nowhere. Degrees of surety.

  • raven

    I’ve been arguing on and off for the last couple of weeks that theists aren’t stupid, deluded, or mentally ill.

    Wrong.

    Theists is too broad a category. Theists make up around 70% of the US population. So any averages of them are going to be the same as averages for the entire USA for obvious reasons.

    Fundie xians score low on IQ, education, and socioeconomic status. They score high on any measure of social dysfunction you care to look at. Those are just statistical facts.

    Fundie xian induced Cognitive Impairment is a well defined clinical entity*. We* even have a mechanism. No they aren’t all dropped on the head at birth. It has to do with committment bias, confirmation bias, tribalism, and the theory of Limited Cognitive resources**.

    *Well defined by me. *We are myself and a few cats.

    ** This is a real theory with real data behind it. Basically, humans have only so much decision making and thinking capacity per day. And if you spend it unwisely on hate, fear, and struggling to survive, you aren’t able to do much higher order thinking.

  • http://timgueguen.blogspot.com timgueguen

    No doubt some Muslim suicide bombers are true believers. Others do it because their family will gain prestige or financial aid if they do. It’s worth remembering that the suicide bomber idea came from the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, who were primarily a secular group.

  • Trebuchet

    Only a little off topic, I hope: Here’s a trailer for a new crockumentary by Robert Sungenis, Catholic apologist and geocentrist. Not to mention anti-semite. Note the appearance of Michio Kaku in the trailer! Like PZ in Expelled, he was probably lied to about what he was getting into.

    (Hoping it won’t embed!)

    The Principle

  • starskeptic

    “Sounds like this professor is modelled on Dawkins though made deliberately less smart.”

    This professor straw-man was showing up in Chick-lets LONG before Dawkins and doesn’t resemble him in the least.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001345954729 Gwynnyd

    I once was sent an FB post that started with the statement that the person had never read any refutations of the arguments for god I’d been talking about and never intended to, and ended with the assertions that I should at least read the bible before I started saying things about it. And the cognitive dissonance of that juxtaposition didn’t short out his brain in the least.

  • mobius

    Agreed. It is a ludicrous straw man they have created for this movie. And oh so similar to so many creationist stories. But the fundies will eat it up. It says exactly what they want to hear.

    I used to post daily on Topix evolution forums, and later on their atheist pages. You would see this kind of thing constantly from the God infected. “Atheists hate God” and other such statements. I still go back occasionally for the laughs, though a little of that goes a long way these days.

    Ok…thinking about Topix has brought to mind one (to me) very funny story. This happened not long after the discovery of soft tissue in an otherwise fossilized T-rex leg bone. It was determined that the protein coding was similar to that of a chicken. This one fundie stated that it was inconceivable that chickens were descended from T-rex. I pointed out that no one was saying that chickens were descended from T-rex, but that the DNA showed that chickens were related to T-rex. Just as he shared DNA with his uncle and that showed he was related to his uncle but not descended from him. The fundie comes back and asked, “How do you know I’m not descended from my uncle?” (Yes, he really said that. But then, this guy WAS from West Virginia.)

    True story.

    BTW…this led to quips like, “What did you get your uncle for Father’s Day?” I know. A bit cruel. But it was just TOO tempting.

  • regexp

    Whenever someone sits next to me on the plane and starts asking me questions about my relationship with Jesus – I usually just put on my headphones.

    Thankfully that has only happened once this year.

  • Michael Heath

    regexp writes:

    Whenever someone sits next to me on the plane and starts asking me questions about my relationship with Jesus – I usually just put on my headphones.

    In the 1990s there was an even worse threat – avid Celene Dion fans. Happened to me once, the scars are still raw.

  • Michael Heath

    I had a chance to watch this just now. As low as my expectations were, this was way stupider. In spite of my recalling the George Carlin joke about the idiocy of the average human, and that 50% of the populace is worse.

    I also counted up the number of findings supporting the idea the Christian god, or any gods exist, I see that value remains unchanged.

  • Trebuchet

    @24: But if birds are descended from dinosaurs, why are there still dinosaurs? Checkmate, atheists!

  • lofgren

    I think the character in the movie is a little more complicated than a straw atheist. Rather he is a lapsed Christian, who is being portrayed as an atheist because the primary market for the movie doesn’t believe that atheists “really” believe what they claim to believe. In all honesty I don’t have sufficient grasp of the nuances of what makes a strawman to be sure it isn’t a strawman, but it seems more like a category error to me. People like this professor do exist and do make arguments that he makes, but they’re not atheists. They’re Christians who are angry at god. Predictably their arguments are just as illogical and emotion-laden as other Christians.

  • Childermass

    Pretty much everyone has pointed out that the prof is a straw man of the most ludicrous sort. I might add that I cant imagine that any professor acting like that could hold down a job in any school in the country. His behavior easily merits dismissal on many grounds. No prof has the right to bully students as this one was shown to do. It is not just believers who would have a problem. As an atheist I certainly would not consider spending hundreds of dollars on tuition justified for a prof does not seem to want to teach his own subject and would be content if everyone just signed a piece of paper.

  • lofgren

    I might add that I cant imagine that any professor acting like that could hold down a job in any school in the country.

    His behavior may be unprofessional but if you believe that unprofessional bullies can’t hold down jobs, I would also wonder if you live a world of faeries and unicorns.

    As an atheist I certainly would not consider spending hundreds of dollars on tuition justified for a prof does not seem to want to teach his own subject and would be content if everyone just signed a piece of paper.

    Once again I feel the need to point out that he never says he won’t teach the subject nor that signing the paper is the only assignment. He’s looking for a patsy to argue for the existence of god in his “trial.”

  • jameshanley

    If you think that prof’s not real, then you’re obviously unaware of the lawsuit I’ve filed against the makers of this film. They modeled that prof on me, and I want my royalties.

  • http://conservativenewswire.wordpress.com/ Conservative Newswire

    Hi Ed, long-time lurker, first-time poster. Had to come out to comment on this literally godawful trailer. Actually, I’m interested in the possibility of doing a livestream of your watch party, if you really do one? That would be fabulous. You could always do something for a secular charity. But, copyright laws and all that…but, if you didn’t show the movie, just people laughing their asses off at it, that could be fun, too!

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    “His behavior may be unprofessional but if you believe that unprofessional bullies can’t hold down jobs, I would also wonder if you live a world of faeries and unicorns.”

    Well, sure, if you’re talking about ALL UPB’s*, the vast majority of them being christians. But, if you’re only talking about atheists, nah, they’re not gonna get a whole lot of “freedom of expression” under the 1st Amendment. If you believe differently I would wonder if you live in a world of fairies and unicorns.

    “They modeled that prof on me, and I want my royalties.”

    Get the front end money, Jim, there are not likely going to be any backend profits to distribute.

    Unprofessional Professorial Bullies

  • dingojack

    What are you going do James, sue them for definition of character? :) [Thank you Capt. B F Pierce].

    Dingo

  • http://conservativenewswire.wordpress.com/ Conservative Newswire

    dingojack, if you’ve ever watched Trailer Park Boys, that sounds like a total Ricky-ism. Hilarious!

  • Ichthyic

    That reminds of, “I saw an icy waterfall, therefore Jesus is God.” [1, paraphrased for brevity]. This non sequitur’s more troubling since it’s the claim of a real person, and a scientist to boot, where the one Ed provides is an imagined strawman, albeit a popular belief.

    and a lie no less, since 2 years before he wrote that book, he said his conversion was simply due to the death of a family member.

    pretty lies for an unpretty fiction.

  • Ichthyic

    His behavior may be unprofessional but if you believe that unprofessional bullies can’t hold down jobs, I would also wonder if you live a world of faeries and unicorns.

    this is an ugly strawman, even.

    I mean, there’s unprofessional… and then there is the guy depicted in that movie.

    it’s like saying a grape is the same as a watermelon.

  • Ichthyic

    I don’t have sufficient grasp of the nuances of what makes a strawman to be sure it isn’t a strawman

    yes, you are correct, you do not.

  • Ichthyic

    There is no resonating argument claiming that God is dead. Instead the argument is whether a god or gods exist along with the lack of evidence or reason regarding the nature of any particular god.

    The xians never really did understand what Nietzsche meant. but then, understanding is not one of their strong points.