Tonight some friends and I went to see Ben Stein's new movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed which opened today in theaters. I first heard about this movie back in January and have been curious to see it ever since. The basis of the plot is about how many professionals in the scientific and education community have been immediately ostracized by their peers when they merely bring up the subject of "Intelligent Design." Darwin's Theory of Evolution has long been the standard ideology taught in science classrooms across this country, often disregarding the first word of the title, "THEORY of Evolution." Yet the blacklisted scientific intellectuals pruport that Intelligent Design should be allowed equal consideration in the education field, especially since Darwinism still can't explain how the first molecular cell came into existence.
What I gathered most that this film is about is not necessarily an argument that viewers should believe in Intelligent Design (although it makes some hard points that are difficult to counter), but rather that it was about academic freedom and the opportunity to explore other options besides the standard Theory of Evolution that culture has so firmly settled upon. If the field of science uncovers new facts and evidence through modern technology that counter the accepted norm, will the scientific community consider these points, or continue to teach something that does not contain the full picture yet is so widely accepted across the culture?
Expelled touches on how a person's world view affects their viewpoint of this topic, how Darwinism influenced Hitler, and takes a look at the deeply intricate structure of human DNA. Ben tours Dachau concentration camp in Germany as well as another Nazi controlled hospital, speaks to dozens of scientists on BOTH sides of the issue, and conducts an extensive interview with the author of "The God Delusion," Richard Dawkins.
Stein did a great job keeping the documentary from getting too dry by interspersing hundreds of old black and white film clips, many of them humorous, into precisely-timed points of the movie. Much of this footage had double meaning, in that it drew parallels between this subject and events throughout history such as the Berlin Wall and the Holocaust.
While it's a bit obvious which side of this issue Ben sits on, I found it refreshing to hear the "other side of the story" from that which is most often discussed. Being a Jew himself, Stein distinguished the difference between Creationism and Intelligent Design, drawing distinct lines between the two and countering those who think that Intelligent Design is just a ploy to get prayer back into schools.
I'm sure there will be some opposition to this film, but if it can open the doors of discussion on the subject of Intelligent Design like Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" did for global warming, then I believe it will do a great justice to the scientific community and the future of education. After all, if we lose our academic freedom to explore all possibilities of life and how it began, then what other freedoms will we lose next?