". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

I think for the most part my readers are familiar with this movie, but if you aren't, click here. And then run, don't walk, to your neighborhood theater and see it as soon as possible. We did so last night, and in spite of it going against every fiber of my being to pay $9.50 to see a movie, I am glad that I did, and I would do so again. The movie is worth every penny. and I think it is going to need all the help it can get to stay in the theaters more than a week, because the reviews are starting to come in and as one might predict, the scientific establishment and mainstream media have already panned it.

The thesis of the movie is that our institutions of higher learning have erected a wall between what they identify as "correct" and "incorrect" thinking about science and that anyone who dares to ask questions that don't subscribe to the establishment view is turned into a scientific outcast. The genius of the movie is that all it does is follow Ben Stein as he travels around the world asking people--all kinds of people, evolutionists and non-evolutionists alike--questions. Stein himself does not promote or push an agenda--he just puts people on camera and lets them speak, and he is careful to include both sides in their own words. It is ironic, then, to see the indignant and angry outcry emanating from the scientific community--an outcry which illustrates exactly the point that the movie is trying to make--that while our universities supposedly teach the freedom to ask questions, some questions are more legitimate than others (to paraphrase George Orwell).

And at its heart, freedom--not science or religion--is what Expelled is all about. (It is also neither a Christian movie--Ben Stein is Jewish--nor a creationist one, since contrary to what some think, creation and Intelligent Design are not necessarily compatible.) It begins with images of the building of the Berlin Wall, and that Wall becomes a symbol of the intellectual wall that has been erected in academia, stifling inquiry and open discussion. As a former college English teacher, I have personally experienced this wall in witnessing firsthand the intentional and organized attempt to use college English courses as a means of indoctrinating incoming freshmen into politically correct, postmodern, secular humanist thinking. Trying to teach English--just teach English--in that environment was difficult and disheartening. But Expelled left me with some hope that it may still be possible to wake people up to what is happening on our campuses and that perhaps there are still some principled, thinking professors out there who--especially if they band together and take strength from numbers--are willing to stand up for true freedom.

The movie concludes with images of ordinary people tearing down the Berlin Wall. The analogy is clear: it's time for America to tear down its own wall of politically correct thought and speech. One little way we can do that is to send a message by going to see this movie in huge, record-breaking numbers. To quote Mr. Stein . . . "Anyone?"

By the way, here are a few good reviews of this movie to balance the preponderance of negative ones that are out there.

Comfort Food
Answers in Genesis
Christianity Today


Jinkies said...

Talk about ways to push my button...

I love science and I'm a six day creationist person, so in a way, I think I understand some of the difficulties on both sides.

What rankles me about Christians and science is that they seem to make pronouncements about things they clearly don't understand, as with the "watch found on the beach" analogy or the "typing monkeys" analogy, or with pronouncements about the second law of thermodynamics. The intelligent design people don't seem very... intelligent... when trying to demonstrate that something is too complex to have just happened. And the ID people seem also not to respect Genesis, which presents each part of creation as a fait accompli.

The people in the science camp on the other hand seem to forget that science, being empirical and causal, has very specific limitations and can't speak beyond them; in such a case, it's easy to forget that there may be more to the world than what you can see.

Barbara Frank said...

Thank you for sharing that review. The movie is not showing at the local theater up here in the boonies. But it's in Green Bay, so we'll have to make sure we get down there to see it while we can!

patrick said...

Ben Stein's goal in making Expelled (i gather) is to promote dangerously-free thought, especially more thinking about motivations that drive American academia and a lot of other behind-the-scenes worldview that we tend to take for granted.