Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

I rented the Expelled DVD today. I was hoping for it to be as funny as a Michael Moore movie, in the way he does all those “gotcha” questions and camera shots. However, it was very mild, with the irony mostly showing up in the form of old movie dialogue clips that pop up after people speak. I don’t know what all the fuss was about, considering the following:

  • Myers and Dawkins, the loudest complainers in the press, were fairly represented; in fact, I am more sympathetic to them personally than I was before watching the movie. (Not their whining, just their general point of view.)
  • Darwin was not personally maligned, although Ben Stein makes an eerily silent trip to a Darwin shrine in the UK.
  • Everything about the Nazis was very straightforward, and I did not detect any of the nonsensical, nonhistorical blameshifting* that usually characterizes the discussion of evolution and Nazism. In fact, Stein makes an explicit statement to the effect that he does not equate evolutionists in general with Nazis.
  • The only religious people that should be happy about their image in this movie are Jews and Unitarians. There is an implication that “liberal” religious people support theistic evolution just to annoy “conservative” religious people, and theistic evolution is dismissed as basically illogical. The director also took pains, however, to include one interview with a special slam on creationists.

Obviously, most of the “controversy” talk about this movie is hot air.

It’s possible that the central point of the movie (suppression of academic freedom) was overstated, but I don’t know anything about any of the cases, and I’m not sure why anyone would care about them anyway. At every place I’ve worked, I’ve had to learn to keep my mouth shut on certain subjects. Well, except for the place that fired me for not keeping my mouth shut. If someone can’t keep from aggravating their bosses, they should be self-employed.

This movie provided an interesting followup to my recent experience listening to the audiobook of Lee Strobel’s The Case for a Creator. Despite Strobel’s huge reputation among Christians as a master apologist, the book is one long argument against creationism in favor of intelligent design. C.S. Lewis (as shown in The Problem of Pain for sure, and perhaps in Mere Christianity as well) is unequivocally a theistic evolutionist, despite his current stature as a Protestant Aquinas. Likewise, the Roman Catholic church is clearly in favor of theistic evolution, as it is described by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn. 

Taken together, these and other works point to a bleak future for both fundamentalist creation science and atheistic, Darwin-inspired evolution. Personally, I don’t favor Intelligent Design or theistic evolution, but I am starting to think that between the two of them they might capture most of the ideological market share in the future.

*Usually, the approach is to portray Nazis as comic figures: basically good folks who were unfortunately deceived by secular science and subsequently possessed by the demonic spirit of Darwin. This attribution of supernatural powers to Darwin is unbiblical and idiotic. Why not just admit that Nazis were sadistic pagan goons who latched onto evolutionary science as a convenient excuse for their brutality? They knew most Germans at the time were herd-following science-worshippers who would jump at any “scientific” excuse to blame their problems on a minority group, especially if its extinction promised to improve their tribe.
–That shows how stupid it is to extrapolate hypothetical science into a political platform; why liberal theology is disastrous for a country; and how the way of the crowd leads to degrading sinfulness. However, it has nothing to do with Darwin or his theories. If they had left scientific theory where it belongs, as a narrowly applicable and empirically testable method for developing physical technology, instead of using it to create a modern human-sacrificing paganism, they could have avoided the long-lasting stigma associated with Nazism. It is their own fault for rejecting biblical doctrine and embracing scientific idolatry.
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