Holy crap-a-moley. I just heard about a film called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. It stars Ben Stein, and is an attack on the scientific community (which it refers to almost exclusively as “Darwinists”) and its repression of believers in Intelligent Design (ID).
This film is trying to galvanize the mostly-religious right, and their idea that God created everything, the same way Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 did for the political left, and their belief that George Bush is a boob. (Full disclosure: I am a political conservative, and wholeheartedly believe in evolution and Bush’s total boobicity.)
Despite not being a fan of Bush, I didn’t care for Fahrenheit 9/11. Most people who saw it, whether they agree with Moore or not, would acknowledge that he “spun” facts and words to his make his points. Even so, you at least felt that most of his research was accurate, if possibly misrepresented. For instance, in one montage I recall, he derides Bush for spending some large percentage of his first 100 days in office vacationing. I don’t recall the exact figures, but I do remember that at the time I did some math and found that that was the normal amount of time everybody spends “vacationing,” once you include weekends as vacation time. So the fact that W spent that many days vacationing was true, but the context was misleading.
Expelled appears to play fast and loose with the facts in a way even Moore wouldn’t dare. Google the movie title for some examples of its errors or see them in this Scientific American review. They are lying to people in order to get them to believe there is a giant conspiracy to conceal the truth about ID. Normally this wouldn’t bother me – I don’t care if other people believe we evolved, were created, or emerged from the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
What bothers me about this is that Ben Stein says in the trailer that he distrusts Darwinists because they’re so defensive. He asks, if they’re so scientifically open to free exchanges of ideas, why do they work so hard to quash the whole ID theory? Why is their propaganda machine working so hard to promote evolution? Why are they ruining the careers of ID proponents? Why are they fighting in the courts about teaching evolution in schools? Why are they making feature-length films touting their principles? Oh wait. They’re not doing that last one. You are, Ben.
April 17, 2008 at 12:36 am
Scientific types (being the thorough bunch they are) have set up a site called “Expelled Exposed,” which fact-checks a lot of the claims and spin in the movie. As you might expect, the movie seems to be pretty much a load of hooey. As well as badly made.
What’s also funny is that, for a group that has made a film purportedly supporting free speech and talking about people whose ideas are supposedly being suppressed, the filmmakers have put a lot of effort into excluding people who disagree with them from seeing “Expelled” and reviewing it. That, and they seem to have pilfered other people’s work for the movie without permission as well.