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Posted: November 3, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Intelligent Design

Would you like to watch a humorous, intelligent, thought provoking movie this weekend? "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" starring Ben Stein was just released on DVD. I saw it yesterday, thoroughly enjoyed it, and recommend it highly. As the title suggests, the movie is about the discrimination that some scientists have received when they dared to suggest that the apparent designs and patterns in nature could be explained by an intelligent designer of nature. This theory is known by the initials ID and is anathema to the official science community.

John Sullivan, producer of "Expelled," said, "In making the movie, we wanted to explore this very important subject matter...of where did we come from, why are we here, what are some of the answers? Unfortunately we found that a lot of people aren’t allowed to talk about it, particularly if you’re in the academy."

In "Expelled," the camera follows Ben Stein (famous as the droll teacher in "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off," and former speech writer for Nixon and Ford) as he travels, interviews people and narrates the story. The movie is similar in style to the successful documentaries made by Michael Moore. The difference is that Stein seems to be more even-handed than Moore was, with interviews with people on both sides of the issue.

Seeing the quality of people whose careers have been damaged because of their belief that ID has merit, one can only wonder if the politically correct movement has not captured the scientific community. Caroline Crocker (from George Mason University), Rick Sternberg (from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History), Guillermo Gonzalez (Iowa State), and William Dembski (Baylor) all seem to be intelligent, well spoken, open minded scientists. Which gives rise to the question, "When science is no longer open minded, is it still science?"

Interspaced among the above were interviews with prominent evolutionists like Oxford’s Richard Dawkins, William Provine of Cornell and P.Z. Myers of the University of Minnesota. The interview with Dawkins may well be the most interesting part of the movie. When asked, "Where did the first cell come from?" Dawkins said "I do not know. No one does." But despite the lack of scientific proof, Dawkins was still certain that the first cell just had to be the product of some evolutionary process. He said that he was an atheist, but his confidence without proof, seems to suggest that his religion was really evolution.

There is a dark side to "Expelled." There is a scene in which Stein walks through the ruins of a former Nazi "hospital" which has become a museum, interviewing the curator. It was a place where the Nazis had performed experiments on and then killed thousands of people whom the Nazis had deemed worthless — people with disabilities, or handicapped, or of the wrong ethnic background. The curator make it clear that the Nazi’s were Darwinists, and that they were simply applying "survival of the fittest" to society at large, disposing of people who were not fit, all logical from their point of view, according to the curator, who seemed amazing dispassionate. The point seems to be that what a society believes about the creation of life will influence the value that a society gives to life. The footage here is why the movie gets a PG rating.

The movie opens with footage of the Berlin Wall being built and closes with the footage of the wall being torn down. The unstated message is that academia has built a wall against the freedom of thought, particularly freedom to believe in ID, and this movie is seen as the filmmaker’s effort to pull down the wall. It is powerful. Check it out.

John Donaldson is the Pastor at Newborn & Mansfield UMC. Send e-mail to john.donaldson@ngumc.net.

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