The Unbelievers Movie, Ruminations by Jordan Smith

Two men that I admire greatly – not for their non-belief in a random deity – but their hard work, expertise & frankly under-appreciated strides forward in not only their scientific field, but in bringing the wonder of science back to the Zeitgeist. We need familiar faces and spokespeople to inspire the next generation of scientifically-literate children, and although there are one or two more, I would say one mustn’t look much further than these two men.

Professor Lawrence Krauss – (American Theoretical Physicist, Cosmologist, writer and converse wearer)

&

Professor Richard Dawkins – (British Ethologist, Biologist, writer and pisser-offer of unreasonable internet trolls everywhere)

Spent time documenting a recent tour aptly named  ‘the unbelievers’. The film had not been as provocative as the name would suggest, but that may be because I have such a high expectation of offence. Interesting enough; always a delight to watch these two scientific experts & staunch non-believers talk. Most importantly it garnered a good amount of discussion after the film had ended, and isn’t that the point?

With cameos from Sam Harris and a small clip of Ayaan Hirsi Ali – it tempted us with what could have been an outstanding piece of work. The film felt mostly like a rally cry for secularists, and why not? There needs to be an open discussion of faith, and an ownership of our humanistic values – sadly in my country this is a silent majority. I believe the documentary told me what I already knew, we shouldn’t be silent any longer.

I could sense the importance of their work throughout the piece, the crowds were numerous and they all laughed at the right theological and political jokes. Everyone seemed happy. Mostly it seemed to be an insight into the conference of like minded people; Instead of the normal anger and fierce hatred found in documentaries that have any snippet of anti-religiosity.

The intellectual honesty regarding scientific exploration and theoretical physics was played down, it almost seemed as if you were the third leg, hanging out with your favourite scientists, instead of just watching a bunch of youtube clips of them (which is basically what it is)

Some fantastic cinematography and speeches help to mould what was, all in all, a nice but comfortable film. I very much doubt Dawkins or Krauss will get an extra amount of death threats or vitriolic emails due to this, which in a sense is a shame as it means they aren’t speaking frankly enough. I won’t worry as I know their twitter accounts alone deal with this issue, but it would have been enjoyable to see them rip apart religiosity a bit more – especially from a scientific point of view.

I was lucky enough to speak through a google+ hangout to Professor Krauss earlier this year and question him about parts of his career that interested me (mostly the attacks he gets from the Christian American Right-Wing). I was lucky enough to also connect with him on twitter not long after, asking if he was a fan of The Beatles & if so – his favourite song. As a Liverpudlian his reply warmed my heart and only added to the high amount of respect I already held for him.

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It was a highlight of my recent work – and as usual his answers were as educated and brilliant as ever. A similar disposition can be expected within the film.

It begins and ends with celebrity endorsements of a sort, black and white interview clips specifically for this documentary, trying always to explain to people “It’s OK to be an atheist, and it’s OK to tell people”

On the one hand it may fall on deaf ears due to the right-wing Christian agenda in the US, but in other countries, especially mainland Europe I think this film and its message will be digested healthily and accepted gracefully; on my part I was disheartened as one of said celebrities was Cameron Diaz – truthfully it nearly shook my non-belief as I haven’t liked her since the Mask. But hey, that is the thing about being an Atheist – we don’t have to worship or hold any of our counterparts in any higher esteem than ourselves. So I forgive the scientists for using an actress I am not wholly a fan of.

Not as hard hitting as it could have been, but thought-provoking nonetheless. Surely preaching to the choir, but easily a film for any secularist to view with some amusement and fulfilment.

Go to Netflix and watch The Unbelievers, it is work the running time – whatever time really means, theoretically speaking.

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