TERRIBLE review for Ben Stein’s propaganda film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”
Ben Stein’s soon-to-be-released disingenuous anti-evolution
Judeo-Christian fundamentalist crocumentary ”Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” has received a scathing review from Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel. Moore described the “documentary” as “a rabble-rouser of a doc that uses all manner of loaded images, loaded rhetoric, few if any facts and mockery of hand-picked “weirdo” scientists to attack the those who, Stein claims, are stifling the Religious Right’s efforts to inject intelligent design into science courses, science curricula and the national debate.”
As others before him have pointed out, Moore notes how the producers of Expelled have tried to frame the evolution-Intelligent Design “debate” (also known as the evolution-creationism “debate”—and this is about as much of a debate as is the debate between the theory of gravity and the notion that God is pulling objects down with his many invisible fingers) as a fight for academic freedom. The lie promulgated is that Intelligent Design proponents are being oppressed by a scientific community made up of dogmatic evil “Darwinists” bent on suppressing any and all criticisms of evolution and hiding all of its supposed “holes”. The Scientific community is the evil oppressive thought policing big brother, and the ID community is the innocent and noble victim who just wants to have the freedom to present its side of the issue. Relatedly, Barbara Forrest, a key speaker against the IDists in the Dover, Pennsylvania trial, on previous occasions has pointed out how the ID crowd tries to frame the evolution-creationism affair as an issue of fairness—it is only fair that each side get its due time. The film completely masks the facts that 1) evolution is viewed by the grand majority of the scientific community as a historical fact (note to reader: evolution is a historical fact; evolutionary theory refers to attempts to explain the mechanisms by which evolution (i.e., changes in populations over generations) occurred, such as Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection); 2) the field of evolutionary biology is among the most thoroughly developed and validated research programs in human history; and 3) Intelligent Design Creationism is an unfalsifiable hypothesis (it is not a scientific theory) which is based on no evidence, but rather on arguments from ignorance and willful misunderstanding of previous findings in evolutionary biology.
Next, according to Moore the crocumentary went to great lengths to cast evolution and modern science in a negative light by repeatedly linking them falsely to Hitler, Stalin, eugenics and the holocaust, and by attributing false premises to evolutionary science and considering severely out-dated and long-ago supplanted biology research so as to present a strawman of evolution which he could easily tear down. The strawman and fallacious linkage to evil: two of the deceitful propagandist’s best friends.
Stein also presents the probabilistic argument: what are the chances of life arising by undirected natural processes? This is a bogus argument. What are the chances of life and the universe as we know it coming by natural processes? Presumably very low. But who said that this universe is special? The universe could very well have turned out an infinite variety of other ways, but it turned out the way it is. Similarly, sometimes someone wins the lottery. It happens! It doesn’t mean that the lottery was rigged. Moreover, I wonder if he considers that the Earth is but a small corner of the known universe and may be the only part of it that contains any known life. Further, I wonder if he considers that 99% of the species that have ever existed on this planet have gone extinct—it’s kind of a natural and predictable outcome of replicating biological organisms in a changing environment with limited resources. I also wonder if he considers the fact that there could be, for all we know, other parallel universes co-existing with ours—some containing entities analogous to living organisms on Earth, some not. And lastly, I wonder if he ponders the probability and the evidence (read: lack of evidence) of there being an omnipotent, omniscient God existing outside of space and time that took it upon him/her/itself to create our universe. I confidently assume that he considered none of these minor details.
According to Moore, the disingenuity began even before the movie began. The preview that Moore attended was a private showing to what apparently was hoped to be a “friendly, receptive audience of conservative Christian ministers at a conference at the Northland mega-church”. Moore claims that the pitch for this movie parallels that of other pro-Christian films such as Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. “In other words, a stealth campaign, one out of the public eye, preaching to the choir to get the word out about the movie, without anyone who isn’t a true believer passing a discouraging judgment on it”.
What is more, the promotional team flooded the Orlando Sentinel with email invitations but then tried to withdraw the invitation sent to Moore. Why would they do this? Why would they suddenly withdraw Moore’s invitation? Is it perhaps because they suspected he may not review it favourably?
Between setting up biased movie reviews, relying on strawman arguments and lies, and attempting to bribe Christian schools to bring their students to see this movie, I can’t help but think that Stein and his colleagues are a bit insecure. But no matter how much BS has gone into the production and promotion of this crocumentary, you just know that millions and millions of Americans (and fundamentalists elsewhere) are going to flock to this travesty in droves and walk out of the theatre feeling vindicated in their beliefs. Hopefully the strong opposition that is sure to continue flooding out of the scientific community, blogosphere, and hopefully the mass media will mitigate this unfortunate effect.