4/19/08

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Blogging for me today is my sister, Jenni, who happened to see Expelled, Ben Stein's documentary on Creationism, before I did. Expelled is a geek movie because the debate between Creationism vs. Evolution tends to get very intellectual and usually only attracts those who are devoted to one or the other subject. Such devotion is worthy of geekdom. So, without further adieu, here's Jenni:


"Then you have the creationists who say God put all the animals on the ark and that's where all the animals came from," said one of the many scientists interviewed in Ben Stein's Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Funny. I always thought that God created the animals long before the events surrounding the Ark. Apparently, this scientist seems to think otherwise. But I digress.

Steve said it right. There are debates everywhere about Creation vs. Evolution. The strange thing is, throughout the movie Stein consistently preferred the term "Intelligent Design." This being a documentary, it follows Ben Stein on his journey to discover why renowned scientists are being asked to resign or outrightly kicked out of their positions or closely scrutinized at the first mere mention of Intelligent Design (ID), as if the debate were a proverbial Berlin Wall. "You have academic freedom, as long as your ideas are on the right side of the wall." According to the Internet Movie Database, Expelled took on the explanation of how "under a new anti-religious dogmatism, scientists and educators are not allowed to even think thoughts that involve an intelligent creator."

The first scientist introduced was the one Stein said started his whole journey of discovery. This scientist, who worked for the Smithsonian Institute, published an article mentioning ID, and, like the Thought Police of Orwell's 1984, his superiors were all over him, asking him questions about his religious beliefs, his personal agenda, and so on. It seemed like just seeing the words "intelligent" and "design" automatically put in their heads the words "religious" and "terrorist," which is how said scientist said he was described.

It is no secret that Ben Stein is a Jew. What really clinched the whole plot line in was when he, through his interviews, discovered the connection between Darwinism (Evolution) and Nazism. One of the scientists said to him that, although Mein Kampf and The Origin of Species were written in different countries, "when you open up Mein Kampf, you automatically see some of the same ideas."

I won't spoil all of the arguments for you, but suffice it to say, Ben Stein poses many important questions that scientists are many times not allowed to ask. But, since science is about academic freedom, shouldn't they be allowed to follow the evidence wherever it leads?

Thanks, Steve. I hope you get to see the movie soon.