Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
is the highly anticipated Ben Stein documentary concerning the Intelligent Design (ID) movement. The ID movement describes a belief among many scientists that the supposition and/or conclusion of an Intelligent Designer makes more sense out of science than the alternatives. IDers have had a strong and rising presence in the Christian community over the last ten years, and this movie hopes to give their arguments exposure and validity within scientific academia.

The best word that I can use to describe the movie is this: Effective.

I don’t really like propaganda. I don’t like spins. I don’t like misrepresentation. Even though I am all for the ID movement, I highly expected this movie to make my face red. It did not. In fact, I think that the producers and writers proposed a humble agenda and accomplished this, giving people a educational video that should well outlast its Hollywood light.

There were a few things that stood out to me most:

The ability of the movie to illustrate the importance of educational freedom and the valid place that the ID movement has within the university setting (or at least the market-place of ideas). More than this, they illustrated how suppression of this freedom is not only fear mongering, but it is dangerous to the well-being of society.

Their ability to link the outcome of naturalistic evolution to the Holocaust. Some most certainly will see this as propaganda, but I felt that it was needed and well placed. Their argument was that if there is no God and naturalistic evolution is indeed true, why would ethnic cleansing be wrong? What arguments could one possibly have against it?

I found the minor implicit questioning of evolution in general surprising and fascinating. They did not spend long on this, but their basic argument was that the theory of evolution has a lot of holes. It is “smoke in a room.” I have said this for years. While I could possibly fit the theory of evolution into my Christian worldview, as many great Christians have often done, I have never found any good arguments to do so. I always think I must be missing something. I was glad to see that I am not the only one who has nothing to lose saying “Say what? It just doesn’t add up.” 

I loved the simplicity of this movie. I always desire that people just get back to the beginning and at least offer some plausibility of why there is something rather than nothing. In this case, they did so with regards to the genesis of life. Interviewing many atheistic evolutionist such as Richard Dawkins, we find that the belief in a God or any sort of intelligent creator is likened to the tooth fairy, hobgoblins, and many other fantasies that belong in children’s books, not science books. This ridicule went on for quit some time. Once Stein pressed these guys for an alternative for the origins of the first life, they responded by giving some of their own theories. One said that life might have first began as the first single celled organism “piggy-backing” on the backs of crystals. Stein’s reaction to this is classic Stein. He just stared at him with this “You cannot be serious” look.

The best part of the movie came in this vein when Richard Dawkins suggested that aliens came and seeded the earth with life. He said that he believe this is a very good theory. Stein responded by saying (and I quote loosely from memory) ”So, you will allow intelligent design from and alien to be taught, but you won’t allow intelligent design if we call the intelligence a transcendent ’God’?” He made his point. It was effective.

In the end, the argument was that Intelligent Design be allowed to be believed and taught as a possible explanation for the origin of all things. It was humble and effective.

I suggest everyone go see this.

I will be curious as to your thoughts.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    4 replies to "Expelled: Evolution vs. Intelligent Design – A Review"

    • Daniel

      I have seen the video and it is filled with deceit. Stein tries to connect an atheistic agenda to evolution. FALSE! While there are atheists like Richard Dawkins who love to venture into philosophy all the while thinking it is science, these scientists are generally held in low regard in the scientific community as a whole.

      The Holocaust link to evolution is entirely irrelevant. If people doing bad things because of evolution proves evolution to be false then Christianity and Islam both become jokes because people within those religions have been abusing their holy writings to promote wicked agendas.

      For further note: Hitler’s religious beliefs are actually disputed by scholars. He claims to be a creationist doing a service for Christ in his writings but it is possible that he was simply just manipulating and using Christianity to gain political footing. Ironically, Christians in the mid-19th century were more racist then Darwin’s theory of evolution.

    • Glenn Shrom

      Ben Stein interviewed Dawkins, and Dawkins said that he has no problem with intelligent design as a theory, so long as there is no deity involved. This was the perfect springboard for a naturalistic intelligent design movement which is compatible with evolution, that would be a great step forward for science. It would satisfy the philosophically and religiously neutral advancement of intelligent design that leaders of the movement claim to aspire to! Did Stein rejoice when he heard these words, over the great agreement the two had reached? No, he just moaned that Dawkins wanted to leave God out of the picture. That is not the way that intelligent design will gain a respectable place in human inquiry towards truth. What a missed opportunity!

    • Bibliophile

      Design (or purpose) is not an empirical quantity; it is a formal quality: intelligent design proponents are making a category error by assuming that meaning is “in” things the same way that match sticks are in the box; or sugar is in the bowl, etc. But purpose is not “in” things materially; it is “in” things formally, the same way that meaning is in words.

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