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Expelled, spewing into a theater near you

April 16, 2008

Ben Stein’s docuflunkary Expelled starts Saturday. Reviews I’ve seen so far focus on its clumsy scripting and propagandistic imagery, its intellectual dishonesty, and its outright total misunderstanding of what evolutionary theory is or is not.  The implication is that it will be naturally de-selected by the marketplace.

It would be nice if the movie fell to quick oblivion, but that isn’t going to happen. It really doesn’t matter if it’s bad or good. There’s serious money behind it, and a very popular religious meme.  Millions of people have a religious/political reason to see the movie, whatever its merits.  And it will live on in DVD performances in church basements everywhere.

The movie pits bad-boy rebel Ben Stein against “Big Science” to ask the question “But how did life begin in the first place?”  But Stein never catches on that abiogenesis is a separate question from evolutionary theory.  Instead the movie keeps trying to clumsily pack “Darwinism” and Nazis into the same box.

At least the TV ad shows Richard Dawkins saying; “God is about as unlikely as faries, angels, hobgoblins etcetera.” 

UPDATE: Jason Rosenhouse at EvolutionBlog reviews Expelled, The Movie.  And Ken Hanke at Mountain Express says; Junk science meets even junkier filmmaking.  Still slavering for more?  Scientific American‘s John Rennie says; “Expelled; No Integrity Displayed”.

Categories: Religion
  1. April 16, 2008 at 21:03 | #1

    Love how the caption turned out! Simplicity is beauty.

  2. April 16, 2008 at 22:32 | #2

    This picture reminded me of something, but I couldn’t remember what.  Then it came to me; a 1984 political cartoon by Olliphant on the occasion of Ansel Adams’ death:

    This image is a little blurred, but the tiny insignificant figure standing in the foreground is Ronald Reagan, whom Adams described as “Opaque”.  That is; “A substance which admits the transmission of light in neither direction.”  Not a bad description of Ben Stein and the cdesign proponentsists.

  3. April 17, 2008 at 05:41 | #3

    That thought bubble says absolutely everything that ever needs to be said.  Perfect!

  4. April 17, 2008 at 20:07 | #4

    The Beagle Project a caption contest for this image!

    A sample caption: “On my statue, I will have only the initials, “BS”.

  5. April 18, 2008 at 06:46 | #5

    Just more proof that this pseudo-intellectual dweeb is nothing but a crank. How do characters like this get to be “celebrities?”

  6. April 18, 2008 at 07:34 | #6

    How do characters like this get to be “celebrities?”

    Oh, that’s easy!  In three easy steps:
    1. Be a speechwriter for Richard Nixon
    2. Have a 1-minute role in a comedy movie 20 years ago
    3. Be a game show host

    Presto! celebrity!  Anyone can do it.

  7. April 19, 2008 at 08:37 | #7

    I fear you’re correct the movie will live on in church basements for years. Perhaps the real solution to such porn is better math and science education—especially at the K-12 levels.

  8. April 23, 2008 at 16:57 | #8

    I’ve always wondered why Darwinism is referred to as a “theory”, but defenders of that faith never seem to consider it as anything but a fact?

  9. April 23, 2008 at 17:30 | #9

    It’s both.  Facts are observable or deducible realities.  Theories in the scientific context are explanatory and predictive models that fit the facts. 

    One thing that evolutionary biology is not is faith.  Faith, as you surely know, is the ‘substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’.  Evolution on the other hand has been seen in thousands of different ways; it lines up with and is confirmed by multiple scientific disciplines. 

    Despite what preachers say, another thing evolution is not is a religion or a philosophy.  It’s an explanatory and predictive model that addresses speciation, and that’s all.  It does not address how life began (your chance to say “Goddidit” and no one can contradict you!) and has nothing to do with the big bang or various social movements in human society.  It’s just how nature makes species.

    And while evolution contains some very simple ideas in operation it isn’t at all simple.  Much easier to say; “Goddidit”.

  10. April 25, 2008 at 19:39 | #10

    Quote of the day: Ben Stein on the Craig Ferguson show on 24apr08:

    Stein: “Don’t fire people because they say the planets do stay in their orbits because of something other than Darwinism.”

    And these people want to wedge their way into our secondary science curriculum?

  11. April 25, 2008 at 23:58 | #11

    So Stein is complete moron with no idea as to what Evolution really is. For awhile there I thought he was just getting his “Money Check.”

  12. April 27, 2008 at 12:03 | #12

    Hi George.
    “One thing that evolutionary biology is not is faith.”
    Oh, gosh. It very definitely is faith based. One example: I remember being taught about Piltdown Man as further proof of the Theory. Seems we took the learning as gospel. Turned out to be a, well, you know what.

  13. April 27, 2008 at 12:35 | #13

    Oh gosh, when did you go to school?  Piltdown man was discovered to be a fake – by scientists, in 1953. They would have found out much sooner but the evidence had been locked away in a vault. 

    Am I forced to conclude you have learned nothing about evolution since 1953?  Or that you are just repeating AIG talking-points as if they were your own experience?

    See, when religion makes something up, it defends it to the ends of the Earth against all evidence. Centuries can go by before it gets corrected, if ever; the Catholic church just got around to apologizing to Galileo in 1992. 

    If someone in science makes something up, like Piltdown man, they get found out and shredded because scientists make a name for themselves by ripping apart falsehoods.  Science is ruthlessly self-correcting because it doesn’t deal in Truth, it deals in truth.

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