Over the years Ben Stein has played many roles. He was a speech writer for Richard Nixon, a game show host, and an actor whose roll call made him famous: "Bueller . . . Bueller . . . " You get my drift. But now Stein has taken on a huge challenge: the science community and the theory of Evolution in his film "Expelled."
Set upon the backdrop of the Berlin Wall, the movie symbolizes the rift between Evolution and Intelligent Design just as the wall was the physical barrier between democratic West Germany and Socialist East Germany. While academia is designed to be a place where ideas may be freely discussed, Stein’s film paints a picture that departs from the ideals of the ivory tower and has a message which resonates with readers of William F. Buckley’s inaugural classic "God and Man at Yale." Just as Buckley’s subtitle was "The Superstition of Academic Freedom," Stein’s could well have been "The Myth of Academic Freedom" or even "The One-Way Street of Academic Freedom." The truth in this film is that one has freedom academically, but only if they have the right position. Believing the right way may be the difference between earning tenure and losing one’s job, regardless of what their research indicates.
The film features several scholars from both sides of the Evolution–Intelligent Design divide. The film is structured in a way so that both sides of the argument may be heard. Appearing in the film is prominent atheist Richard Dawkins. The other side featured, among others, Alister McGrath, a Christian scholar with a background in molecular biophysics. The Evolutionists paint Creationism and Intelligent Design as identical theories, a claim which Stein makes nowhere in the film. In fact, the Evolution scholars by and large dismiss any possibility of an Intelligent Designer. It is a ludicrous theory and only those stupid Fundamentalist Christians think Intelligent Design has any merit or truthfulness to it. Translation: Evolution = smart people, Intelligent Design = ignorant people who rely on religion to cope with their existence and who wish to impose a theocracy, or even worse, bring prayer back into the schools.
The most chilling moments of the movie revolve around Evolution’s role in the eugenics movement, its impact on Nazi Germany, and its U.S. incarnation of Planned Parenthood. As a Jew, Stein is especially concerned about how Evolution contributed to the sick idea of the disposal of unnecessary people or those not worth the air they breathe. Hence, people who had disabilities or had the poor luck of being born Jewish were rounded up, sterilized, or simply put to death because they were deemed to be of no contributive value to the country. It is even scarier to think how that functions for much of the rationale for abortion in this country. It is still the disposal of people who would be considered burdens of the state or just born into bad situations. It’s disposal of people deemed unnecessary however one slices it.
The Evolutionists offered hypotheses to explain how life began which range anywhere from arising out of the primordial soup to being planted on earth by an intelligent civilization from another planet, which of course does not explain how life begins, just how life arrived here! However, the only unacceptable answer is anything that resembles God or any other sort of Intelligent Designer.
Everyone is still free to make their own decision on the matter, but Stein provides a new platform for Intelligent Design, and gives more than ample time for Evolutionists to answer criticisms, but for this reviewer, their only rationale for Evolution is, "It’s Evolution. It’s scientific fact and if you disagree with me then you, sir, are stupid."
And if you disagree with me, then feel free to crawl back into the primordial soup. Or Berkeley.