Ugh. I am so sickened by even the previews and hype around this new documentary, “Expelled.” From watching the preview, I get the idea that Ben Stein is trying to tell us all that science is persecuting those that disagree…but the problem is, science isn’t about freedom of speech, it’s about TRUTH. And if you come up with some bullshit that can’t be falsified through tests, then I’m sorry, but you’re not making a scientific hypothesis and scientists do NOT need to respect you. So, the hypothesis that there is a “creator” who is guiding the design of life on earth, well…it’s not science. You can have that hypothesis if you want, and you can tell your children that’s what you believe if you want, but you absolutely 100% do NOT have the authority to make my children hear about it in schools, or to be demand respect from the scientific community.
Dan Whipple writes in the Center for Inquiry‘s publication PSICOP:
Expelled is such a morass of innuendo, untruth, irrationality, and fear-mongering that it’s hard to know where to start dissecting it. While presenting a brief for teaching intelligent design (in university classrooms, at least), the film never says what intelligent design is. Then, at a media telephonic extravaganza on January 22, Stein and co-producer Walter Ruloff said they had no theology to promote.
Said Ruloff, “We really are not validating one particular position, being the intelligent design or the design hypothesis, or creationism or other forms. What we’re really asking for is freedom of speech.” But the movie, or even a cursory review of the film’s Web sites (www.getexpelled.com and www.expelledthemovie.com), shows that this assertion is—how to put this politely?—unsupported. Says the GetExpelled.com site, “For decades now, Neo-Darwinism has maintained a stranglehold within public education, suppressing all other theories on the origins of life—especially those that hint of a ‘designer.’”
And this tidbit from that same piece is a real gem:
ID isn’t explained very well in Expelled and neither is Darwinism. This quote from Ben Stein comes from the movie’s telephonic promotional extravaganza. It’s not in the film itself, but the theme is pervasive in the film:
“Darwinism as I understand it—and maybe I don’t understand it,” Stein said, “but Darwinism holds that life began by something like lightning striking a puddle and inorganic matter was converted into living matter. And from that, after four-and-half-billion years, came the form of life that we now know.”
Well, clearly he doesn’t understand it. He made a documentary that’s on the big screens and made top 10 at the box office last weekend, and he didn’t even bother to research what Darwinism is! Evolution and natural selection make no claims about how the first life began, only how it evolved after that point. While the origin of life is a fascinating question that scientists are investigating, the various theories on how life could have begun naturally are still being developed and data is still being gathered. The fact that we haven’t yet pinpointed exactly how the first living organisms began doesn’t negate the evidence for the truth of evolution, the science of how all of the species and organisms living today descended from that first life.
The article in CSICOP directed me to another interesting piece in Scientific American, Six Things in Expelled that Ben Stein Doesn’t Want You to Know. One of these things I had already heard of:
3) Scientists in the film thought they were being interviewed for a different movie.
As Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, Eugenie Scott, Michael Shermer and other proponents of evolution appearing in Expelled have publicly remarked, the producers first arranged to interview them for a film that was to be called Crossroads, which was allegedly a documentary on “the intersection of science and religion.” They were subsequently surprised to learn that they were appearing in Expelled, which “exposes the widespread persecution of scientists and educators who are pursuing legitimate, opposing scientific views to the reigning orthodoxy,” to quote from the film’s press kit.
Pretty deceptive of the filmmakers, huh? I bet then they probably selectively cut interviews to show those scientists as unfavorably as possible. Again, ughhh.
I also found that Scientific American has a whole slew of articles on the the documentary, which you can check out at this page: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed–Scientific American’s Take.