“Expelled” is a documentary where comedian/actor/presidential speech-writer Ben Stein makes the case that scientists are suppressing evidence that shows that life has an intelligent designer. While the movie is a few years old, the point it makes still stands: evolution is a theory with more problems than answers, chief of which is that it is too unclear to be helpful. Nevertheless, the scientific community is so defensive of evolution that any evidence to the contrary is simply not allowed to be heard. Instead, those that dare do research that support intelligent design (ID) are expelled from the academic community.
The circular argument made by the scientific community and exposed by the movie is simple. ID is not science because no research backing it appears in peer-reviewed journals. Moreover, no scientist can do research pointing to ID or publish any articles defending it because it is not science. The circle is both complete and impenetrable.
Stein compares it to the Berlin Wall; American scientists have freedom to explore anything they want, as long as they stay on one side of the wall and ID stays on the other. Anyone that violates this rule is fired, figuratively tarred and feathered, and driven into the wilderness. Meanwhile, scientists themselves have real questions about evolution that they are unable to ask for fear of reprisals. While our country was founded on freedom, this freedom is under attack by the scientific community (picture Stein walking through Arlington Cemetery asking if these men died in vain, and you get the picture).
This is not a Christian movie. Stein’s foundation is not the deity of Christ, and his push for theism is not a push to bow the knee to the creator of the universe. This is also not a fair movie. Stein acts like Michael Moore with interviews spliced together and simplified issues being dismissed with sound bite phrases.
Yet this is a helpful movie. Any Christian who has attended public school at any level, be it kindergarten or grad school, can attest to the truth of what Stein exposes. Evidence for macro-evolution is practically concocted, and substantial evidence for ID is dismissed. Some of the best scenes in the movie have different evolutionists presenting Crystals and Aliens as possible sources for life on earth. This is more reasonable than ID, we are told, as long as the aliens themselves could have come from some Darwinian mechanism.
The last few scenes stressed that the debate between evolution and ID is really a debate about world-views. One of the scientists (there are so many in the movie, they are hard to track or remember their names) said that this is a debate where our world-view shapes how we see the evidence, not the other way around. This was probably the most profound line in the movie.
Christians realize what the scientific community (generally speaking) does not admit: our world-view does shape the way we see evidence. If nothing else, Stein succeeds in making a movie that shows people how shallow evolution is because of how shallow the world-view behind it is.
He could have made a better movie. The evolution/Nazi connection was overplayed, and his explanation of evolution was under-played. He compared himself to Ronald Regan too much, and cartoonish evolutionary caricatures abound. But he did make an entertaining movie on a complex topic that is taboo in classrooms.
I strongly recommend college students rent this movie, and strongly recommend that their shepherds take the time to talk to them afterwards. Use this as a chance to teach them what presuppositionalism is, and how it affects their education. The evolution “debate” has only one side being heard, and Stein sets the table for a helpful discussion about what is really behind the scientific community’s insistence that ID be silenced.
A final note: If you have seen “The Privileged Planet,” you will recognize Guillermo Gonzales. After the making of that movie, he was one of the scientists who found himself expelled.