Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

 

What Is It?

This is a theatrically released documentary about the tension between Evolution and Intelligent Design, as well as Free speech. Ben Stein (“Win Ben Stein’s Money,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off“) goes on a Michael Moorestyle quest to understand why the science community and others are out to stop any exploration into the idea that the world was not an accident, but instead shows traces of Design and thus a Designer.

 

How Was It?

It is a documentary that follows the standard story arc of narrative film. This will make it a lot more accessible to viewers not tantalized by a “Good Documentary.” It starts off well and gets a little slow with the rising action. We get interviews often inter cut with ironic music and old movie and news reel clips. We then find out about large groups of scientists, and media people, circling the wagons and “expelling” those who even bring up “Intelligent Design” as an option.  This is interesting for a while. As I started to drift, remembering how the Muppet Baby’s TV show used to also spike it’s dialog with bursts of old black and whites, the movie suddenly jolts us back to the subject at hand. Ben travels to Germany to see how the Nazi interpretation of Darwin was carried out in concentration camps. From here on in, the movie is more gripping and emotional. (Slight Spoiler) And like all good American Narrative film, it comes down to a man vs. man final confrontation as Ben Stein interviews a leading evolutionist/atheist, Richard Dawkins. 

Some of the evolutionists have complained about the film. They have said that they would not have done it, if they fully understood the theme of the film, and they were insulted that some of their interviews were inter cut or linked to archive footage of Nazis. The great thing is that, so far, no one has said that they were misrepresented or that the footage was edited to make them say something that they did not say. Likewise, no one has said that that had done an interview that was cut because it didn’t go with the bias of the film. (Both of these have been complaints with Michael Moore Films.)

 

There is one scene where they are kicked out of the Smithsonian. I could be wrong, but they do not say anything about getting an appointment. This is presented in the tone of “they wouldn’t even talk to us.” I do not think anyone would be allowed to walk into a place like that with a full camera crew and just start doing there shtick. Other than this, they defiantly have a bias but seem to be genuine about the information they present. 

Was it Good for Kids?

 

Though the presentation is well done, there is archive footage of dead bodies in concentration camps and police being rough with people.

You can get a complete breakdown of what is on the screen at Screenit.com  

What About Spiritual Issues?

 

This movie deals with Spirituality but in a very “Scientific” way. They are very clear that I.D. is not promoting the creation story of any one religion. In one interview we find that a prominent ID research group employs Christians, Muslim’s, Jews, Agnostics, and others. A woman Journalist identifies herself as non-religious Jewish. It is also made clear (with a short list) that the ID research group has taken no money from prominent fundamental Christian leaders (such as Pat Robinson) and is not fighting for “prayer in school” among other things.

 

This movie also has a large section that shows the hopelessness, and subsequent moral decline, that follows a rejection of the idea of a deity existing.  

The issue is freedom of speech and allowing scientists to do research and have their work in the same forum. This is a wonderful message, it is just not evangelical or specifically “Christian.” With that said, most Christians will be excited to hear the points made in this film.

 

What has been the Reaction?

This movie accused Academia, the scientific community, and the media, of joining forces to suppress the free speech of people who believe in Intelligent Design, as a legitimate scientific inquiry, by loudly proclaiming that ID scientists are not real scientists, that they have no legitimate data and are only trying to force a religion on the country.

 

So far the media has been reporting that the scientific community and Academia have seen this film. They tell us that the movie is not worth watching because the scientific community has found that this movie is just a subversive attempt to force a religion on the country by using fake science with no legitimate data… Hummmm…. 

What Is Your Recommendation?

Check out the web page and the tailor, , and if you have a chance, go see the film. This will give you a lot to talk about. The unfortunate thing about this film is that most people who see it will already agree with the final points and just be left thinking “I wish my friend So and So would see this, but they never would.” Still, if you can get So and So to come with you, I’m sure you will have a great discussion afterward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

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3 Responses to “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”

  1. Bad Says:

    Likewise, no one has said that that had done an interview that was cut because it didn’t go with the bias of the film.

    Actually, the producers basically admitted upfront that they didn’t interview such people at all, knowing that it would confuse their message. When they claim that religious people are forced out of science, you’d think they’d interview openly religious biologists like Miller or Collins who are both well respected, both religious….and both agree that ID is not good science. But they didn’t interview these people. They don’t even acknowledge their existence in the film except to dismiss them and deny them. The producers later even basically questioned the sincerity of their beliefs, which is vile.

    And it’s simply not so that no one has complained that they were misrepresented. The film most certainly misrepresents, for instance, Richard Dawkins when it presents his “aliens” answer without telling the audience what the actual question was. The film implies that this is what he thinks is so. But the question was actually basically “what is the best scientific case you can think of by which ID could be supported by evidence.” That puts his answer in a very very different context.

    And most of the interviewees objected to being in the film because they consider it’s points dishonest, and don’t want their names to be used to promote what they consider lies. The producers, on the other hand, wanted those big names to help sell the movie. So they misrepresented the nature of the movie to get participation, which also had the effect of preventing those interviewees from ever knowing what claims would be made in the film, and thus getting a chance to argue against them.

    If you’re interested in how the movie misrepresents the issues, there are numerous sources to check out, including my own review.

  2. Expelled on DVD Today « Questionentertainment’s Weblog Says:

    […] You can read our full review here. […]

  3. Top Picks from the 2008 Pile « Questionentertainment’s Weblog Says:

    […] Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed […]

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