Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Expelled" movie review (for what it's worth)

I know, I know, I haven't posted in awhile...a long while actually. So allow me to issue a humble apology to all readers (that means you Thomas ; P). I could say things have been busy and crazy with the semester starting to wind down and scholarship applications due, but I really don't have any decent excuses, sorry. Here's the post:

After hearing hearty recommendations from Answers in Genesis, my Philosophy class, and others; and being already interested in the subject matter of the film, I figured I had basically no choice but to check out Ben Stein's new film, Expelled. Great stuff, Stein's project is extremely engrossing, inspiring, revealing, and, at times, humorous. This blogger thoroughly enjoyed it and recommends it to any and every thinking person in the United States...period.

To be sure, Expelled is bound to prompt a firestorm of controversy and debate, which is good. The entire thesis of the film centers around the alleged squelching of the intelligent design (ID) movement and it's relation to free speech in American. Interviewing prominent scientists, teachers, and philosophers, the suit-and-sneaker-wearing Stein embarks on a somewhat personal journey to discover if and how intelligent design is being suppressed in today's academia and whether or not such a theory really has scientific merit.

He begins by exposing "expelled" teachers and researchers, listening to their stories, and then interviewing those against ID. Stein then examines the precise claims of ID, showing their scientific basis (such as the complexity of the cell) and thus the inadequacies of Darwinian evolution. Following this, Stein examines the implications of this godless theory as demonstrated in the holocaust. Admittedly, I cannot provide much of a summary after this, I was up extremely late Friday and things started to get a tad hazy after 8:30, but suffice it to say that Expelled closed off with an (hmm, how should I put it?), "revealing" interview with Richard Dawkins, calling the viewers to action and noting that it will take more than a small film by Ben Stein to change the academic oppression today.

I've heard (and only heard) that the film has been ripped by both sides. Those from the more liberal/secular side denounce Expelled as mere creationist propaganda, while, ironically, some creationists wish Stein had used the opportunity to share more evidence for creation. For starters, I personally don't see the film as any kind of propaganda or foolishness at all. Expelled goes to great lengths to make it clear that we just want to ask questions and engage in healthy, scientific, debate. I don't even think the film claims that ID is correct or better than Darwinian evolution. It is simply trying to alert the American populace to an important and controversial issue. I am, admittedly, a creationist (one of those literal six-day wackos at that) and also think the film could have been a little more supportive of the creationist cause. Nonetheless, Stein asks many brilliant men a lot of questions and makes few assertions of his own. Aside from the valid comparison between the Berlin wall and today's science, there is virtually nothing in this film meriting the "propaganda" tag.

The upshot of everything, as I've said, is that this is a really solid film that is worth seeing, even if you're already somewhat familiar with the evolution-creation debate. If you haven't seen it, be sure to check it out soon. The more support for projects like this the better.

(edit: check out OldTruth for an excellent review/discussion on Expelled, there's some great insights there, as usual)

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