Sunday, May 10, 2009

Movie Night: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Well, I thought my evolution posts were completed, but apparently not. I've been wanting to see Ben Stein's Expelled:No Intelligence Allowed ever since I heard about it. (It's plugged on the back of Fossil Hunter). This is a documentary in which the comedian Ben Stein investigates the closed mindedness of academia with regard to the proposition that there was an Intelligent Designer behind the workings of nature. It started when he learned of respected scientists in academia losing their jobs and their careers because they happened to mention Intelligent Design in the course of a slide show, an article, or a paper. Not promoting it per se, just entertaining the idea.

Darwin Forbid that anyone should do such a thing! Everyone knows that, as evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins says in the movie, anyone who don't believe in evolution is either stupid, ignorant or insane. The case is closed. There is no debate because there's nothing to debate.

It was fascinating to see and hear some of the people I've read quotes from, like Dawkins, to see their close-mindedness, their absolute confidence in the correctness of their opinion even when it is ridiculous. Pressed to provide an explanation for how life came to be Dawkins skittered about, hemmed and hawed and settled on the possibility of panspermia -- that is, that aliens brought it here. Which, of course, just pushes the question back to how did the aliens acquire life. "And this," Stein asked, "you find more reasonable than the possibility of an intelligent designer?"

And he did. Although I think at one point in his floundering around, he came around to half agreeing that there probably was an intelligent designer, even as he denied there was. His agenda was obvious. He read from his most recent book The God Delusion, a description of the God of the Old Testament that was worthy of Satan himself. How he was incapable of seeing the very great mercy and grace of God toward his constantly rebellious people is ... evidence of the truth of 2Co 4:3,4 "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."

It's a very interesting movie and they make it entertaining by interspersing old movie footage of relevant actions into the interviewing. It also draws a correlation between Darwinism and the Nazi's which has a number of critics all hot and bothered. In addition to the fact that it not only proposes an alternative to evolution but dares to accuse the evolutionists in academia of not allowing debate on the matter...

"A shameful antievolution film tries to blame Darwin for the Holocaust," says a reviewer for Scientific American.

An entire website devoted to disparaging the movie called Expelled Exposed says that Ben Stein flunks and that he doesn't tell you that Intelligent Design is really creationism and therefore not science. (I think there might be such a thing as Creationism Derangement Syndrome, because apparently all you have to do is assign someone the label of Creationist and they cease to matter.)

Human Events uses the release of the movie to raise the question of whether Intelligent Design is really a scientific theory.

Michael Shermer, a renowned skeptic and one of the interviewees for the film, addressed this accusation in an article in Scientific American, stating "Anyone who thinks that scientists do not question Darwinism has never been to an evolutionary conference. ... It is perfectly okay to question Darwinism (or any other ism in science), as long as there is a way to test your challenge. Intelligent Design creationists, by contrast, have no interest in doing science at all." (And once again, they don't have to engage with the ideas because they can just say the ID creationists aren't doing science. And the evolutionists are???)
The Wikipedia entry seems to have been written by the same crowd, with the overview of the article listing such sub-sections as:

Promotion of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution

Claims that intelligent design advocates are persecuted

Portrayal of science as atheistic (It didn't -- there were plenty of dedicated scientists who were not atheists -- but it did show direct evidence of how Darwinism supposedly led some people to lose their faith)

Claims that Nazism was inspired by acceptance of evolution

The "Expelled" (with quotation marks so you'll know they weren't really... except they were)

Claims that film producers misled interviewees

Copyright controversies


Unlike the Wiki entry on Evolution where there are no criticisms or alternative ideas noted, on this entry it's almost all criticism. Why am I not surprised?

Here's the trailer.