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.