First, I’d like to thank the atheists, without which I wouldn’t have heard about this movie. I wondered what all of the fuss was about when blogs started erupted vitriol over Ben Stein’s film months in advance of its release. Now that I’ve seen Expelled! No Intelligence Allowed, I recognize their mindless railings for what they are: DAMAGE CONTROL!!
Wow. Did Dawkins lay an egg on this one!
The film masterfully sets up its argument with all the honed skill and elegance of an experienced rhetorician. It’s critics have called it propaganda for its imagery and allusions, but these are the same folks who want to limit how we do science; it should not surprise us that they wish to limit argument to exclude pathos and ethos. They’re simply not interested in engaging the arguments anymore, much less in a fully-fleshed presentation of argument.
The premise is this: Freedom of Inquiry is being suppressed in scientific circles and academia, in general. Dissenters from naturalism/darwinism are being discriminated against by
Stein sets out by clearly demonstarting how widespread the suppression of design advocates is. He notes how prominent atheists simply deny its veracity and how some have been castigated simply for mentioning design without also explicitly denouncing it! The imagery lend associations with Communism [the Berlin wall], Nazism [Hitler’s eugenics program and ultimately the Holocaust] and McCarthyism [note the Edward R Murrow sequence]. Each of these allusions are associated with the suppression of opposing viewpoints, denial of employment and the inevitable inquisition.
Expelled then establishes that Intelligent Design is in fact science, noting especially how complex the cell is at the molecular level and the amount of information contained. He also notes that those promoting ID are serious scientists. [I didn’t miss the fact that one of the guys hit by the atheistic establishment had conducted research which lead to the discovery of new planets!], so this isn’t just a matter of science versus religion, but theistic scientists versus athiestic or nontheistic scientists. He also notes how losing court cases does not hurt ID in the least, noting how scientific facts and research results are not determined in a courtroom. Stein also reminds us that evolutionists actually lost the Scopes trial, despite the propoganda surrounding the “Monkey Trail.” Stein also notes the weaknesses of Darwin’s theory [how much it can’t explain] and how the establishment has taken to attacking religion instead of conducting research and presenting arguments from science.
Having established that ID is a valid scientific theory and that discrimination against ID advocates [or even folks that mention design without expressly denouncing it!] is common, Expelled! notes that while most folks tend to think of people as developing their worldview according to science that the opposite tends to be the case: their worldview determines how they approach science. An avowed atheist who was interviewed related a common testimony of how upon examining Darwin’s theory he could find no evidence of a designer, and since evolution was being taught as scientific truth, he felt he had to choose and so became an atheist. This was part of a segment illustrating how evolution predominantly leads to an atheistic worldview through which scientific research will then be filtered.
The documentary then seques into a powerful and somber segment illustrating the fact that worldviews have consequences. He tours places where Hitler had “defective” human beings gassed and Holocaust sites. It notes here how eugenics, abortion and euthanasia find their moral justifications in Darwin’s theory. Expelled! takes special care to remind us that killing others for the betterment of others’ lives, such as abortion and euthanasia, are only the tip of the iceberg. Darwin’s advocates are capable of far worse.
The film ends on a rather triumphant and partly cheeky note: Stein’s confrontation with Richard Dawkins. In which Dawkins reminds everyone that you shouldn’t dish it out if you can’t take it.
It also ends with a message: America was founded on freedom and each defining struggle in our history has been about freedom. This struggle, the struggle to allow a competing worldview alongside Big Science’s Darwinism, is about Freedom of Inquiry. It’s about the right to criticize and doubt the prevailing theory, as Darwin did, in light of new evidence and new information. Since the establishment view is being forced down the throats of our children, this is especially important that we address this issue. Ben Stein ends Expelled! with a plea for design scientists to make a stand and to make sacrifices against this discrimination, and also with a plea for open discussion and debate of these two competing worldviews instead of dogmatic adherence to a flawed theory.