Ben Stein’s Expelled

Ben Stein has a movie coming out April 18th titled “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” which criticizes the way proponents of intelligent design has been laughed off, discriminated against, or ignored. Many Christians are optimistic this will open doors to discussions of intelligent design, creation, and theism or at least get people asking the right questions. I don’t know if this secular movie creates an opportunity for sharing the gospel or not, but many think it will. It at least challenges closed minded thinking that any idea other than evolution is laughable and that the book on that subject has long been shut. Here is an excerpt of a letter from Chris Bougie sent out to campus ministry leaders everywhere:

The evangelistic opportunity we're referring to will
be created by the release of the cutting-edge,
controversial documentary by the well-known and
brilliant Ben Stein.  The movie Expelled:  No
Intelligence Allowed will be released in theaters on
April 18th.  The film not only reveals the critical
scientific problems with evolutionary theory but
highlights the underhanded tactics used to stifle
academics and scientists who disagree with mainstream
Darwinian thought.  Stein spotlights "intelligent
design"—a scientific theory that posits nature
implicates design—and shows how advocates of
intelligent design have been subject to overt
discrimination on campuses and scientific
organizations across America.

“Freedom is the essence of America,” Stein declares in
his narration. He adds that science is supposed “to
pursue any line of inquiry,” though when it comes to
evolution, that practice is not just ignored, but the
freedoms of Darwin-questioners are trampled upon.  One
of the saddest moments in the film occurs when a
self-described Christian university (Baylor University
in Texas) is documented as persecuting one of its own
because he questioned evolution.  Ironically, the
façade of one of its buildings has a verse inscribed
from the book of Colossians, which declares that, in
God, all things were created by Him.

Wow that’s small. (Sorry I’m not one of those guys that can fix that.) I’m not saying a bunch of people are going to come out of the theater, realize they believe in a creator, and get saved later that same evening. I am saying that we live a world where people are looking for answers, and sometimes highly intelligent arguments for evolution sound better than what creationists are saying. Many people desiring to look and sound intelligent figure that must be right, and this may be a change in the wind. If this gets normal, thinking people questioning a system that demands we not question, there is an opportunity for Christians to share the truth with those seekers. Is this film a ministry tool? Is it evangelistic? I would say no. (Ben Stein’s Jewish, you know that right?) But it will make people ask questions that we should be ready to answer in a meaningful way, and not just scoff at. Tell me if I’m right or wrong.

Click here for the official movie blog.

28 thoughts on “Ben Stein’s Expelled

  1. I think you’re definitely right, and I don’t think it is evangelistic in nature, but I think it could be used by others as such. I’m looking forward to viewing this movie if possible.

  2. Hey brother! Please watch this video of evolutionary biologist (and fellow Christian) Ken Miller explaining why Intelligent Design is NOT science:

    Note that this movie does nothing to try and scientifically support ID, but rather just tries to poke holes in evolution via natural selection.

    This movie just tries to debunk good, useful science because of religious dogma… that’s very sad to me.

  3. Also the cases it brings forward as examples of discrimination have been proved wrong. The credibility of ‘expelled’ isn’t very good at all at this point in time.

  4. “I don’t know if this secular movie creates an opportunity for sharing the gospel or not, but many think it will.”

    Secular movie? What’s secular about a movie that promotes intelligent design magic? Everyone knows the designer is a supernatural sky fairy, also known as God. Biological evolution is accepted as fact because the evidence for it is overwhelming and the molecular evidence is extremely powerful. Intelligent design is nothing more than a childish religious belief in magic.

    It’s for a good reason that “proponents of intelligent design has been laughed off, discriminated against, or ignored.” They’re idiots.

  5. Crying persecution is the hallmark of crank science. ID proponents’ rights are not being trampled on, they simply refuse to do the work necessary to be accepted by the scientific community. ID is a fundamentally dishonest enterprise. The movement demands special dispensation and a seat at the table while producing nothing more than PR campaigns and movies.

  6. This films’ main thesis, that anyone in the science community who believes in God, or is a Darwin dissenter is being “expelled” is false at its core.

    In a New York Times interview, Walter Ruloff (producer of Expelled) said that researchers, who had studied cellular mechanisms, made findings suggestive of an intelligent designer. “But they are afraid to report them”.
    Mr. Ruloff also cited Dr. Francis S. Collins, a geneticist who directs the National Human Genome Research Institute and whose book, “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief”, explains how he came to embrace his Christian faith. Mr. Ruloff said that Dr. Collins separates his religious beliefs from his scientific work only because “he is toeing the party line”.

    That’s “just ludicrous,” Dr. Collins said in a telephone interview. While many of his scientific colleagues are not religious and some are “a bit puzzled” by his faith, he said, “they are generally very respectful.” He said that if the problem Mr. Ruloff describes existed, he is certain he would know about it.

    Similarly, Dr. Ken Miller is a professed Christian who wrote “Finding Darwin’s God” (which I suggest you read). Dr. Miller has not been “expelled” in any fashion for his belief in God.

    The movie tries to make the case that “Big Science” is nothing but a huge atheist conspiracy out to silence believers, but only presents a very one-sided look at some of the Discovery Institute’s “martyrs”.

    Carolyn Crocker “expelled”? – No.
    Her annual teaching contract was not renewed. Was she “fired” for daring to bring God into research? – No. She was hired to teach Cell Biology, and she decided to ignore the schools’ curriculum and substitute her own curriculum.

    Guillermo Gonzalez “expelled”? – No.
    He was not granted tenure. The film doesn’t bring up the fact that in all his years at ISU he had only brought in only a miniscule amount of grant money. Nor does it bring up the fact that in all his years at ISU he failed to mentor a single student through to their PhD. Nor does it mention that in his career at ISU, his previous excellent record of publication had dropped precipitously.

    Richard von Sternberg “expelled”? – No.
    Sternberg continues to work for NIH in the same capacity. Of course the movie doesn’t bring up his underhanded tactics in getting Meyers work published.

    This movie attempts to influence it’s viewers with dishonesty, half-truths, and by a completely one-sided presentation of the facts.

    If a scientists’ research is not accepted by the scientific community, it isn’t because the scientist either believes or doesn’t believe in God or Darwin, it is usually because they are producing bad science. Like the idea of Intelligent Design.

  7. 1) Except for Two Channel Station, all the response so far has been anti-intelligent design. I’d like to hear from some Christians that think yes, this movie could be a conversation starter that leads to the gospel or say no, the movie is not Christian, ID is not the same as creation, we shouldn’t watch or talk to people about it. Maybe some fanatical Christian that thinks we shouldn’t watch movies at all. But I guess I’d rather have atheist/agnostic traffic than no traffic.

    2) I approved every comment that was submitted. Click on Onlymoments, then consider this statement: he needs to learn Christian history. The God of the Bible is not like any other god in any religion in culture, EVER. Christianity did spring from an older religion; Judaism. The Christian God is the God of the Hebrew Bible, but it’s not a different religion, it’s an extension of the same story. We believe Jesus was the promised Christ, the Jews do not; but they do believe Christ will come as promised. Both good and bad came of Emperor Constantine’s role in church history. I think the Protestant Reformation was a necessary split in the church. Unfortunate, but necessary.

    3. “Expelled” is a current event much written about in the blogosphere. I wrote about it because it’s relevent, and you can agree or not, but I think it’s a very intelligent argument reminding us the Darwin’s theories are not proven fact, and just like creationism, cannot be proven. Sometimes I comment on current events/movies, sometimes I argue with atheists, but mostly this blog is about the need to share the gospel, Christ’s examples he left us with, and how we can encourage one another to good works. That’s where I spend most of time. This discussion is fun while it lasts, but not my life’s work.

  8. Hey, Ricky here. From Two Channel Station fame. Haha.

    I would say that ID is not the same as Creationism simply because it does not identify the intelligent creator specifically as the Biblical God. I think it is a safe way of providing an alternate theory to be taught in schools or wherever.

  9. “I think it’s a very intelligent argument reminding us the Darwin’s theories are not proven fact, and just like creationism, cannot be proven.”

    Scientists say nothing in science is proven, because it’s always possible new evidence will require old ideas to be modified or thrown out. However, for some things the evidence is so powerful and overwhelming, they are considered facts. For example, our planet’s orbit around the Sun is considered a fact. It’s also a fact that all life evolved. It’s a fact our closest living non-human relatives are chimpanzee apes.

    Scientists accept the basic facts of evolution because of how powerful the evidence is, especially the molecular evidence. For example there are several identical endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) in the exact same place in the genome of different species, which shows beyond any doubt the ERVs were inherited by a common ancestor. (It’s insane to claim a god would insert thousands of ERV’s in identical locations in different species just to deceive scientists. It’s insane and it’s an insult to the god the person worships.) This powerful evidence is only an extremely small fraction of the mountains of evidence for evolution. The creationists have no idea how much evidence they have to reject to deny the facts of evolution. These are not just Darwin’s ideas. Thanks to new discoveries in the past 150 years scientists have a massive amount of information about evolution that Darwin could never have imagined possible. Some of Darwin’s ideas have been thrown out because of new evidence, but his natural selection idea is now stronger than ever, and many of Darwin’s predictions have been shown to be correct beyond any doubt.

    Meanwhile, creationism and ID creationism, which both invoke supernatural magic, have absolutely no evidence at all, and for that reason can’t even be called science. Creationism, no matter what it’s called, is a medieval idea that doesn’t belong in the 21st century. Any scientist who invokes magic to explain the diversity of life is not doing science and can be called a fake scientist. He deserves nothing but ridicule for the same reason a fake scientist who claims the sun circles the earth deserves ridicule.

    “ID is not the same as creation”

    This is what the anti-science Christian creationist organization called the Discovery Institute says, and they are being extremely dishonest. Like the old creationism, intelligent design creationism invokes supernatural magic, and the proponents of ID creationism, just like the proponents of old creationism, know next to nothing about evolution, and to defend their childish creation magic they are constantly lying about evolution. Despite what the professional liars of the Discovery Institute say, ID is just one of many forms of god-did-it creationism. Real scientists, including Christians Ken Miller and Francis Collins, are disgusted by the Discovery Institute’s dishonesty.

    Intelligent design creationism was invented for one reason and one reason only. It’s a dishonest and failed attempt to force science teachers to teach religious ideas in a science classroom. Intelligent design creationism is not science, it’s not testable, and it has no evidence at all. It’s nothing more than an attempt to dumb down education, and real scientists are disgusted with the dishonesty of its proponents. By the way, everyone knows design means magical creation, and no real scientist invokes magic for anything.

  10. “It’s not testable, and it has no evidence at all.” Evolution has never been proved, and neither has creationism, or ID.

    Will any evolutionist answer this question for me? I want an answer that directly explains what I’m asking.

    If the Big Bang occurred, where did the matter, particles, atoms, molecules etc, come from so that the “bang” could occur?

  11. In that case, you’ve been doing a lot of asking but not doing any actual research into it.

    I suggest starting with ‘A Brief History of Time’ by Stephen Hawking and going from there.

  12. We meet again Matt (from JoWiki’s blog). Yet again, YOU do not answer the question, you only bring up the opinion of another man.

    Matt, I want YOU to answer my question. Tell me. Please.

  13. Yes, because I’m going to spend hours writing up complex mathematical equations and scientific theories from physics. Ever wonder why a ‘Brief History of Time’ is such a complex read? Because it’s a complicated subject.
    If you can’t even bother to go to a public library to go and get a book that will answer all these inane questions you seem to have, I don’t see why anyone at all should bother helping you, when you won’t even bother to help yourself.

  14. Let me suggest what an answer might sound like. As we go back billions of years in time, to before the Big Bang occurred, the origins of the universe begin with what’s called a quantum singularity. In layman’s terms, a “singularity” is a situation when all the natural laws as we know them no longer apply. So the problem is, to be an atheist and believe the earth is a random consequence means putting your “faith” in a supernatural event that cannot be proven scientifically. If it’s outside the realm of natural laws, it’s supernatural. God creating the universe would also be outside the boundries of the natural world we know, thus making that event supernatural. To believe in creation, or to believe in Big Bang/ evolution, one must put faith in supernatural events that cannot be proven, only conjectured.

    I have done my research, Matt. And I might be an atheist too; if I had enough faith.

  15. Here’s the problem with “random.” Random always creates disorder. If my wife came home one day, and all the leaves falling from the tree in our front yard were lined up in straight rows, with an equal number of leaves in each line, she would know that I must up to something. Leaves falling randomly from the tree are scattered on the ground in no particular order. In other words, disorder. The scientific terms for this include minimum energy and maximum entropy. Minimum energy means potential kinetic (motion) energy has all been released, and maximum entropy means the most disordered, scattered, energy release has occurred. Random events flinging big banged particles through the cosmos would not eventually lead to order. Look at crystaline structures, the muscles in the human body, something simple like gas exchange in the lungs. Random promotes disorder; maximum entropy as a result of using energy up. Cannot create our universe, regardless of how many billion years you wait. More time only makes it worse, not better.

  16. Matt, I’m going to be as respectful as I can here. And Clark if you feel this comment isn’t necessary or needs to be edited, by all means do so.

    I agree with Clark’s latest comments on this. But once again, you Matt did not answer my question. You simply implied that I was incapable of trying to learn something on my own, as you appear to have done.

    Matt, I really want to respect you as well as your beliefs, but I’m having trouble doing so when you can’t defend yourself. You make a claim, and I ask a question to YOU. I did not ask Stephen Hawking what he thought of the Big Bang, if I did I would have read his book.

    I’m interested in your beliefs Matt. I wanted you to answer my question. Not Stephen Hawking’s book.

    Thanks Clark for another good comment.

  17. Again, why should I waste the hours necessary to explain the evidence and theory of the Big Bang and Evolution when the evidence is clearly already available for anybody at all to see. What do you want me to do? Cut and paste evidence and research? What a waste of time. No, instead I provide books to go and check out because they’ve been written by people that are experts in the field and know what they’re talking about. I provide links to highly respected and fully referenced science sites which have the answers laid out as clearly as you’re going to find them anywhere.

    And then you claim I’m not ‘defending myself’. What sort of baloney is that?

    And when someone says something as incredibly silly as ‘evolution has never been proved’, it just makes me shake my head in disbelief. It’s been as proved as any other scientific theory and the only people who don’t seem to understand that is creationists/IDists, who keep trying to bring up the same tired and disproved arguments time and again … just because it offends their delicate sensibilities.
    Evidence for Evolution? is full of evidence. Fully verified, tested and referenced evidence.
    And that’s just one of the many pages full of said evidence.

  18. I checked out your link, and the one of the first sections, is “Assumptions” or something to that effect.

    If something is proven, all assumptions have been either proven or dis-proven throughout the scientific process.

    Therefore evolution has not been fully verified, tested, or proved just like any other scientific theory.

    In the same respect, Creationism has not been proven. Furthermore, both Creationsim/ID/Evolution are in the same boat, because they all dwell on supposed theories that either cannot or have not yet been proven.

  19. Ricky and Clark-

    I’m curious as to how old you think the earth is.

    Benjamin Franklin

  20. I speak only for myself, but based on Biblical evidence, and other scientific research (carbon dating, etc.) I would assume the Earth is somewhere between 4-6,000 years old. However your question will not prove anything, nor will my answer.

  21. Ricky,

    Nothing is proven. The origin of the universe is not germane to this discussion, nor is the origin of life. Modern theories of evolution propose mechanisms verified by observations through multiple lines of evidence to explain the diversity of life however it arose. ID offers no testable predictions and Special Creation does not begin to fit any of the evidence. They don’t carry the same weight as evolutionary theory.

  22. “Where did the stuff come from so the bang could occur?”

    Here’s your answer: No one really knows. Maybe someday someone will know.

    But this has NOTHING to do with evolutionary theory or the origin of species.

    Further, no one knows how first life came to be on this planet from natural causes. People of faith have a supernatural explanation that suits them fine. There are quite a few supernatural explanations because there are quite a few faiths. Of course, they all argue their particular version is correct. As noted above by other commenters, many people of faith are just fine cohabitating their faith with evolutionary theory.

    I hope this answers your big bang question. Note than many, many people are quite content not knowing the answer of where the stuff came from. Having or not having an answer does not prove or disprove the existance of anyone’s particular diety or lack thereof.

    Modern evolutionary theory is the currently accepted and overwhelmingly verified natural explanation of the origin of speciation. Prediction: when diverse life is ultimately discovered on other worlds, evolutionary theory will apply there as well. Just like gravitional theory will apply and the laws of physics will apply.

  23. ID/Creationism are not based upon scientific methods true, but this is because they attribute creation to either an intelligent being or God. By default both of these are beyond the scientific method, because the method is based upon human reasoning, knowledge, and intuition.

  24. I think an analogous documentary film should also be made concerning the DINOGLYFS or dinolits:

    It seems that the ancient man not only saw but also documented the last megafauna (gigafauna, I should say).

    Other animations on the tiny cellular machineries apart from the Expelled movie can be seen in here:

    Anyway: Benjamin Stein got the world record in terms of the amount of theaters reserving a documentary film in the first-night. One thousand theaters in US only. Wow! Here’s some statistics and charts regarding the success of the Jews in science and technological innovations:
    Biochemist, Finland

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