Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (2008)

Rated: PG for thematic material, some disturbing images and brief smoking.
Length: 90 minutes
Grade: AAAA=A
Budget: $3.5 million
Box Office: $7.7 million (7.7 U.S.)

Written by: Ben Stein and Kevin Miller
Directed by: Nathan Frankowski, with his second documentary.
Starring: Ben Stein and a bunch of scientists on both sides of the evolution/IDT debate.

Ben Stein travels around like Michael Moore, an ordinary guy trying to get to the bottom of the Evolution/Intelligent Design Theory controversy in education. He interviews advocates on both sides, and eventually connects Darwinism with Naziism and the Holocaust.

Entertainment Value: A
As a propaganda piece, which this surely is, it’s excellent. It’s been heavily criticized for being biased and selective in its use of material. This is true. So what? The other side of this story can be heard 24 hours a day on any of a variety of cable channels or in any public school in the country. The movie regularly intersplices scenes from the Soviet and Nazi era as well as from old movies to emphasize various points it makes, such as that the science-academic complex behaves like bullies. The point is not to be fair, but to expose how unfair the current system is. That opponents complain about unfairness is patently self-incriminatory. Much as an attorney presents one side, Ben Stein is making the best film-making case against the exclusion of IDT he can.

Superficial Content: A
Drugs/Alcohol A, Sex/Nudity A, Violence B+, Language A, Illegality A
There are a handful of archive scenes from concentration camps and a guy smokes in an old ad. Seriously, that’s it. Why is it PG? Perhaps to deter kids from seeing it? I really don’t know.

Significant Content: A
Freedom is the key operating value of America, and our history of choices in favor of freedom is the legacy we think of with pride. By excluding IDT from discussions of human origins, the current science-academic establishment is reducing freedom of inquiry. Shame on them. This history of Darwinism’s influence (Neo-Darwinism, today) has led many people to become atheists and was ideologically instrumental in Hitler’s Nazi purges of inferior races. Caricatures of IDT as a secret form of religion are the political tool used to suppress academic freedom.

Artistic/Thought Value: A
This is an excellent visual piece of persuasion about bias and academic bullying. Critics have complained that the examples aren’t what they seem, but I doubt their versions, too. I don’t need a movie to tell me that people get fired or miss tenure for questioning Evolution. I know this first-hand. And as the anonymous testimonies show, many people aren’t even willing to be shown because of their fears. Simply put, the science-academic complex can’t claim that IDT is merely religion and then turn around and say that it doesn’t discourage people from investigating that direction of research. Also, many of the pro-Evolutionists complain that they were interviewed under deceptive pretenses. Does this mean they wouldn’t have been so honest if they had known the real project? The raw truth is that there are moral implications to the denial of God’s hand in the origin of humanity. Though the vast majority of people who believe in Evolution also believe in God, the question of compatibility is a serious one.

Discussion Questions:
~What sort of influence does the teaching of Evolution have on a culture if they take the ideas seriously? Is it unfair to use Nazi Germany as an example here? Can you name any truly great civilizations or societies who were based on this theory?
~What do you think of the message in this movie that the science-academic complex is suppressing information and restricting freedom? Do you perceive that the Theory of Evolution is allowed to be criticized openly in schools, even if alternate ideas are not allowed?
~Social Darwinism in the early 20th century led to great abuses of ordinary people by wealthy business owners, among others. Were they misapplying the theory or understanding it properly?
~Does belief in Evolution encourage atheism? What would atheists believe without this theory?
~Given the worst implications of Evolution, why do so many people believe in it but not in these horrible conclusions? Are they being irrational? Under an Evolutionary worldview, what would the ultimate authority of moral commands come from?
~Does it bother you that the college crowd at the opening was made up of extras, not students? Does it bother you that the evolutionists were not told the truth about the nature of this movie? Do either of these things bother you as much as the treatment of IDT and pro-IDT thinkers by the education establishment?
~Science involves observable, repeatable, and measurable phenomena, and it’s ideas must make predictions, be falsifiable, and be held tentatively. Which of these criteria does the Theory of Evolution satisfy? Which does IDT?
~How useful is the analogy of the Berlin Wall? What does the wall represent? Are walls ever good?
~Why are Evolutionists so interested in always claiming that E is science but IDT is religion? Is IDT religion? What is at stake in winning or losing this category debate? How is this effort different from claiming that E is true, but IDT is false? What is being admitted by refusing to approach the discussion this way?
~Do you think this movie is effective at persuading people to ask questions about E and about education? Is it too over-the-top to reach those who aren’t already on its side?
~Is this movie about IDT and E, or is it about the systematic exclusion of IDT from science and academia? Why doesn’t the movie actually go into any details about what either theory holds?
Overall Grade: A
I still say that the single best visual argument for IDT and against Evolution is the scenes of cellular activity at about 40 minutes into the movie. How anyone can see that and claim that this was an undesigned result baffles me.

1 comment:

Andrew Tallman said...

These comments were posted on an earlier version of this post.

Naum said...
Andrew, have to say, lost a lot of respect for you, given the fraudulent nature of this film… …you criticize Michael Moore for his one sided takes, but I don't think Moore ever descended to this deceptive deed - paying "extras", but deceiving film viewers that they were an audience of college students when in fact they were paid props…

I don't know what your beef with science is, but I think it does Christians a grave disservice to advance crap like this…

October 25, 2008 2:23 AM
Ocotillo Homemaking said...
Naum, what is the "crap" that you think this movie is advancing? Andrew, looking forward to your review. I found the movie really thought provoking.

October 25, 2008 9:23 PM
Naum said...
That is about science, when it is totally anti-science myth camouflaged as science…