The ever-tyrannical majority over at Wikipedia may have won the word-battle to spin Ben Stein’s Expelled as an uninteresting documentary “for Christians and the Discovery Institute,” but no matter… The truth is not killed when angry people stamp on it.
Rather, angry people die eventually, and truth sprouts up, ever-young.
Only time will tell whether Expelled tells any truth, or merely stirs up so much smoke… In the meantime, don’t be fooled by any paltry rhetoric, on either side.
Here’s five (bad) arguments why you should stay home instead of seeing Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.
Bad Reason #1. “It’s one-sided.” For some reason Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit film did not bother critics for being one-sided… Or rather, they said, “Gee, he should present the oppositions viewpoint, but I agree with him, so I liked it.” Stein lets all scientists speak for themselves, and the debate is laid out fairly, which is more than I can say for some of the other documentary-types I’ve seen lately. “Scientists are supposed to be allowed to follow the evidence wherever it may lead, no matter what the implications are. Freedom of inquiry has been greatly compromised, and this is not only anti-science, it’s anti-American.” (Stein)
Bad Reason #2. “It’s creationist propaganda.” Anyone who says this apparently has not seen the film. (Or perhaps they got up for popcorn during the first forty minutes, and missed the part Stein and and Miller carefully clarify exactly what their position is and is not.)
Intelligent design is a positive scientific case, akin to forensic science, archeology, or the principles of engineering. If archaeologists find a bridge in an unexplored region of Africa, they do not set out hypothesizing how the wood logs fell together according to natural selection, the strong logs remaining and the weak logs perishing over time, to form a functional fifty-foot bridge. They investigate which tribe of intentional agents built it. This is the rational thing to do. The strict archaeologists who nobly insists, “No, my friends! This merely looks designed! We must only consider hypotheses which do not include human agency. We are scientists!” has some ‘splaining to do, as Huck Finn would say.
If police officers discover a dead man in a room, gunshot wounds in the head and heart, and a small revolver twenty paces away, they do not presume to investigate the area for the contraption by which the gun naturally and almost randomly (though in a way mysteriously “directed” by “nature”) went off, shooting the man not just once, but several times, readjusting the aim each time so as to make contact… They immediately dust the gun for fingerprints of an intentional agent, or the body for signs of struggle, a piece of hair, a nail, anything. In short, they look for a murderer. Why? Because that is the only gal’ dern rational thing to do, and you know it as well as I do, so I won’t belabor it. Now, when microbiologists discover a fully functional, city-like micro-organism such as the cell or the nucleus of a cell, they do not (unless they are like our noble and austere Archaeologist) insist upon searching for the lowest common bits out of which the protein strands were collected (by chance… but directed, randomly… according to laws), but like rational human beings and lovers of truth they ask same question the forensic scientist asks, the only rational question: “Who dunnit?”
Every scientist and philosopher is bound intellectually to proposing an answer to this question. If evolutionists cannot accept this basic point on its own terms but must constantly propose ad hominums against the person posing the question, it belies a certain reticence to face the facts. What might the deeper motive be, hm?
Now if the answer she comes up with is: “Nobody dunnit. It done happen’d on its ow-en.” that’s fine. Follow the evidence where it leads. But such a scientist must at least admit the burden of proof is on her, just as it would be on the Noble Archeologist who refuses to admit that the bridge was made, or the forensic madman who ignores fingerprints on the gun.
Bad Reason #3. “It’s boring.” I saw it twice and each time found it amusing and compelling, even in the parts with which I did not agree. It is one of precious few documentary films I have seen that a) actually presents arguments, b) actually presents both sides of the argument, and from their own mouths at that. Also, it is mildly amusing throughout.
Those who tell you its boring, I would suggest, are likely those who walked in disagreeing, and resolved not to like any part of it lest they have to defend the charge that they “liked” it as a whole.
Bad Reason #4. “It exploits the Holocaust.” Stein carefully and painfully draws the historical connection between eugenics and “Nazi science” and an evolutionary worldview wherein the weak are not fit to survive. This is sad but true. He plays this card only as lightly as he can, and plays it hard at points where the most grievous consequences might result if he didn’t. He also plays (very, very lightly) the Racism card, drawing a slim connection between a neo-Darwinistic worldview and “Planned Parenthood.” However, Stein is not black, but he is Jewish, so he sticks with his own people. A less cautious filmmaker would have struck out at any point he could reach; Stein exercised restraint and played within the boundaries of his own expertise. (I wish I could say as much for Michael Moore.)
Bad Reason #5. It’s smug and arrogant. Arrogant is a funny epithet. People throw it around a lot, but it only applies when the ‘arrogant’ person is wrong. When Muhammad Ali says, “I am the greatest,” he is just right, so it’s not (as) arrogant. When Sadam Hussein says, “Americans are dogs,” he is mistaken, and so his insolence burns like ice. Stein is confident that he is making a valid point. If it is not a valid point, then he is smug. If it is a valid point, then he is merely self-assured, and knows his place.
Bonus Bad Reason #6! Expelled currently has a 9% on Rotten Tomatoes. Pissing critics off and making news, what could be better!? (And how could a simply dismal propaganda film do that? There are very few documentaries as low as this… Even the “bad” ones have about 20%. It seems that this has struck a vein, compelling a unilateral resistance against the film? Either it is so bad people feel compelled to go out of their way to promote its awfulness, or else it is stoking the heart of the hornets nest, and earning a just reward.) [Warning: Incoming Genetic fallacy!] Of course, the measly 9% is amongst the (generally more neo-Darwinistic critiques. The general populous gives it a respectable 53%.