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So, I hear that NOVA is going to make a TV show out of the Dover trial.

One of the latest battles in the war over evolution took place in a tiny town in eastern Pennsylvania called Dover. In 2004, the local school board ordered science teachers to read a statement to their high school biology students. The statement suggested that there is an alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution called intelligent design, the idea that life is too complex to have evolved naturally and therefore had to have been designed by an intelligent agent. The science teachers refused to comply with the order, and alarmed parents filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the school board of violating the separation of church and state. Suddenly, the small town of Dover was torn apart by controversy, pitting neighbor against neighbor. NOVA captures the emotional conflict in interviews with the townspeople, scientists and lawyers who participated in the historic six-week trial, Kitzmiller, et. al. v. Dover School District, et. al., which was closely watched by the world’s media. With recreations based on court transcripts, NOVA presents the arguments by lawyers and expert witnesses in riveting detail and provides an eye-opening crash course on questions such as “What is evolution?” and “Does intelligent design qualify as science?” For years to come, the lessons from Dover will continue to have a profound impact on how science is viewed in our society and how to teach it the classroom.

This could be very good, or it could be Inherit the Wind (1960) without Gene Kelley. Interestingly enough, Judge Jones himself — who will be played by Jay Benedict — has been part of the promotional festivities:

Jones, appearing in L.A. to help promote the two-hour program, said he didn’t cut people off at the trial, and let everyone have their say. Jones quoted the journalist Margaret Talbot, who wrote after the trial in the New Yorker, “It was a science class that everybody wished they’d been able to take when they were in school.”

If Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial is a success, no doubt the Network Execubots will green-light the production of ScienceBlogs: The Movie. Hush-hush rumors from inside the studios indicate that William Shatner has signed to play Ed Brayton, while Jonathan Frakes has expressed an interest in the role of PZ Myers. Sean Connery will take on the “elusive mastermind” role of Richard Dawkins, and our Hollywood insiders keep dropping tantalizing hints that Uma Thurman may be appearing as Natalie Angier.

When SB: TM hits the silver screen, expect to see a great deal of exciting typing on keyboards, with dramatic extreme close-ups of fingers hitting keys, rapid-fire cuts from keyboards to screens, voice-overs both human and synthesized. . . and, at a dramatic juncture when an Intelligent Design sympathizer realizes that “specified complexity” is scientifically vacuous, the camera will spin around the actor’s head à la Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind (2001).

I hope to receive confirmation of the report that Quentin Tarantino is gunning for the part of a Pharyngula commenter, desperately typing out pop-culture savvy and witty invective in order to win the Order of the Molly.

From the earliest draft script, it looks as if Dawkins (Connery) will hurl epithets of “appeaser” and “Neville Chamberlain” at various and sundry targets, while Orac (voiced by Douglas Rain) will intone, “I’m sorry Richard, but I’m afraid I can’t allow you to do that.” Then, in a riveting action sequence, Discovery Institute operatives stage a commando raid on Orac’s posh Manhattan penthouse apartment, and Michael Egnor — angered by the challenge Orac’s AI poses to his mind/brain dualism — tries to disconnect Orac’s circuits:

Yes, ScienceBlogs: The Movie is sure to be a feast for the ears, eyes, heart and mind. I, for one, can hardly wait. . . .

(Tip o’ the director’s beret to The Panda’s Thumb.)

UPDATE (14 July 2007): Paul Hutchinson writes in the comments,

I keep hearing the classic Kirk battle theme in my head as I envision Ed (Shatner) and PZ (Frakes) battling to the death. Since it’s early in the movie, the battle will not end in death, the adversaries will break combat with no loss of honor.
A new day dawns and along comes Rob Knop to take on PZ. Roger C. Carmel would be perfect to play Rob but sadly he’s long gone. As the Rob/PZ battle rages on, GrrlScientist, played by Emma Watson, steps between the dueling titans and shouts “Expelliarmus” disarming Rob.

And you know, nothing brightens up a morning quite like the “Amok Time” fight theme:

15 Comments

  1. Sweet! I can’t wait to check this out when it comes out. I’ve been hoping someone would do it.

    As for the rest, you had me rolling on the floor!

  2. Glad you liked it!

    :-)

  3. That sounds like a fantastic idea. Hell, I’d pay money just to hear Connery say “Piss off, you Neville Chamberlain atheists! The name’s Dawkins…Richard Dawkins!!”

    Also, can James Rebhorn play Michael Egnor? And who has been picked to play that CRUCIAL role: the man, the myth, the legend, Mr. Blake Stacey?

  4. Jonathan Frakes? What, is George Clooney busy?

    • stogoe
    • Posted Friday, 13 July 2007 at 14:50 pm
    • Permalink

    Sheesh, PZ. We know that Frakes can pull off the beard. Besides, Clooney is slated for a cameo as Bora.

    Connery as Dawkins/Henry Jones: “I suddenly remembered by [Neville] Chamberlain. Let my armies be the rocks and the trees, and the birds in the sky.”

  5. I actually had trouble thinking of bearded actors (or rather, actors well-known for bearded roles such that they’d fit, visually, with the joke). It was either Jonathan Frakes or Harrison Ford, based on Ford’s initial appearance in The Fugitive (1993).

    Rebhorn as Egnor is a great idea — and stogoe, your dialog made me LOL.

  6. Glad you agree, Blake. I know whenever I think of smarmy, dissembling villains, I think of James Rebhorn, and Egnor certainly fits that profile.

    I can STILL hear him saying “That’s not…entirely accurate” in Independence Day, and it’s just that tone I imagine whenever I read Egnor’s babbling.

  7. Gary Oldman would be the perfect fit for Dembski. He would have to deviate very little from his role as Norman Stansfield in The Professional to create the ultimate creepy villain.

  8. Damn you Blake, I was laughing so loud in my office/lab the assembly line ladies must be certain I’m insane now ;-).

    I keep hearing the classic Kirk battle theme in my head as I envision Ed (Shatner) and PZ (Frakes) battling to the death. Since it’s early in the movie, the battle will not end in death, the adversaries will break combat with no loss of honor.
    A new day dawns and along comes Rob Knop to take on PZ. Roger C. Carmel would be perfect to play Rob but sadly he’s long gone. As the Rob/PZ battle rages on, GrrlScientist, played by Emma Watson, steps between the dueling titans and shouts “Expelliarmus” disarming Rob.

    PS – thanks for the heads up on the Dover Trial show, when Nova had the “Holocaust on Trial” episode back in 2000 I thought they did a good job so I have high hopes for this production.

  9. Bum ba dum dum dum da DUM DUM! :-)

    • RCP
    • Posted Saturday, 14 July 2007 at 09:44 am
    • Permalink

    Orac: My mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. I’m a fraid…

    Good evening gentlemen. I am an Orac computer. Have you heard about the benefits of homeopathic remedies?

    Egnor: Tell me about them, Orac.

    Orac: It’s a known fact that the more you dilute something, the more powerful it becomes, therefoooooooooooooo… (shuts down)

  10. OK, this is just my opinion, but I think some of the casting suggestions here can be improved.

    PZ: a bearded Beau Bridges

    Michael Behe: Paul Giamatti

    Bill Dembski: James Spader

    Eugenie Scott: Meryl Streep

    Philip Johnson: a close-cropped William Shatner (think about it, this would be perfect on a number of levels)

    Judge Jones: Chris Noth

    Kevin Padian: Ted Danson

    Barbara Forrest: Kate Mulgrew

    Ken Miller: Michael Gross

    Stephen Meyer: Ted McGinley (it’s the leisure suits)

  11. Clooney? Naw! Jeff Goldblum is my spitting image.

  12. another casting suggetion;

    GrrlScientist: Nicole Kidman

  13. And appearing as B. Stacy: The ever versatile P.S. Hoffman

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000450/


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