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Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Expelled movie summary

Expelled begins with archive footage showing the construction of the Berlin Wall while an excellent violin rendition of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2" is being played. (Though no lyrics accompany the music, anyone familiar with the song will immediately begin to think, "We don't need no education– we don't need no thought control; No dark sarcasm in the classroom– teachers leave them kids alone. Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone! All in all it's just another brick in the wall.") The Berlin Wall becomes a metaphor in this film for the activities of the neo-Darwinist establishment in keeping discussion of Intelligent Design [ID] out of university classrooms and other academic settings.

The first words spoken in the film come from the neo-Darwinist proponent Richard Dawkins, who says, "The battle over evolution is one skirmish in a much larger war." (Dawkins has the interesting idiosyncrasy of pronouncing "evolution" as "evil-ution.") This becomes a theme that is developed in the film as connections are made between neo-Darwinism and questions concerning the larger world-view of materialism.

The first words spoken by Ben Stein are, "Freedom is the essence of America." These words form another theme in the film- that of protest against the loss of academic freedom to explore ID and how this loss signifies an imposition of a certain philosophy upon the American people.

Cases of scientists who have faced oppression for allowing discussion of ID are presented: The movie focuses on Richard Sternberg, who lost his position at the Smithsonian for publishing a peer-reviewed article in favor of ID, and Caroline Crocker, who lost her job at George Mason University for mentioning ID on 2 slides in a presentation. Following discussion of these 2 cases, a quick sketch in given of several scientists who have lost their jobs or have been denied tenure for allowing discussion of ID.

The question is posed concerning the question of whether these scientists deserved the treatment they received from academia: Are these scientists engaged in promoting religion? Is ID science at all? To answer these questions, Stein speaks with Bruce Chapman, president of the Discovery Institute, who makes the point that the ID movement includes Jews, Christians, Muslims and agnostics, so the promotion of a particular religious viewpoint is not a part of ID. Other interviews (including one of William Dembski of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) makes the point that many scientists question the assertion that naturalistic processes can account for the complexity apparent in the universe. This information is contrasted to a quote from Richard Dawkins: "Evolution is a fact."

The claims made by neo-Darwinist proponents for the origin of life are explored through examination of the video Cosmic Origins: From Big Bang to Humankind. Two evolutionary theories are mentioned: The crystal theory (that the intricate development of crystals led to development of life) and directed panspermia (that highly advanced extraterrestrials intervened to direct evolution on this planet). These are explored to demonstrate what outrageous theories are accepted by neo-Darwinists while ID is rejected.

The complexity of life is demonstrated by means such as a 3D computer model of cellular processes. That this complexity could have arisen through naturalistic processes is obviously false.

The film returns to the theme of oppression, this time focusing on oppression of journalists. The case of Pamela Winnick- a non-religious Jew who refused to take a position on ID when reporting the debate- is presented. Winnick has come under the scrutiny of neo-Darwinist watchdog groups.

Philosophical consequences of neo-Darwinism are then demonstrated through a presentation of William Provine, a professor at Cornell University, who argues that acceptance of Darwinism leads to a denial of any deity, the afterlife, morality, and free-will. These philosophical consequences lead to political and social consequences, as seen when the connection between radical Darwinism and Nazism is demonstrated. This prompts Ben Stein to ask, "What can I do?" The response comes from David Berlinski and another scientist, who tell Stein that he must make it apparent to the world that a wall exists to keep ID from being discussed in academia. This leads to a final interview with Richard Dawkins, in which the philosophical bankruptcy of neo-Darwinism is exposed.

The film ends with footage of the Berlin Wall coming down and with Stein lecturing an auditorium of college students on academic freedom.

[Tomorrow I hope to offer a critique of the film.]



Blogger Darron S said...

Good Christians are rallying against this movie as it is based on lies. See fellow Christian Ken Miller's video on Intelligent Design here:


11:42 PM  
Blogger Benjamin Franklin said...

Expelled begins with a deception. The opening scene of the movie is a fraud. It purports to show Mr. Stein giving a lecture to an adoring crowd of students at Pepperdine University. But the production company for the movie literally bought the audience: there were very few students there, the audience having been created from what is known in movie jargon as “extras.” What a way to start a “documentary”, the purpose of which is to supposedly unmask deceptions and conspiracies.

It doesn’t get better. The 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 Discovery Institute “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 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 continued 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, it is usually because they are producing bad science.

Benjamin Franklin

9:57 AM  
Blogger ajlin said...

"benjamin franklin"

Thanks for the information from the other side of the issue. Thanks especially for the context of Stein's speech shown at the beginning (and then again at the end) of the movie. As I hoped to point out in the critique post following this one, this movie is propaganda rather than documentary and should be understood as such. I do still encourage people to see the movie, but hope that everyone will educate him- or herself regarding the facts around this film.

Regarding Gonzales and others, I do think that there is some legitimate discrimination, as further described here:

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Expelled gets expelled (exposed) by the National Center for Science Education:

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched "Expelled" movie online at ...this LiNk...
not so exciting movie...

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This LiNk seems to want to give you a virus.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

I can vouch for Franklin. I was there at Pepperdine University for the filming. They advertised it as Ben Stein's latest documentary and were offering a chance to win an ipod nano (1 in 100chance)(something like that) to those students who attended. I went with a friend and I think there were only a couple of other students there. The rest were extras who were getting paid. They told us to cheer when signaled, even a standing ovation (bleh) etc. After the first take of Ben Stein's speech, even though we were supposed to stay for the subsequent tapings my friend and I walked out, I couldn't stand being in such a staged audience cheering for such a propagandist speech. Ken Miller who is testified against ID in the dover trial came to our school months before speaking out against ID, so I knew all about ID background. I respected Ben Stein before as he used to be a Professor at Pepperdine University and all his fun visine commercials, but now not so much... at all. Ah well. Nonetheless, this is not what Pepperdine University supports, at least not the natural science dept. So nonetheless, I am still proud of my school. Lets go Waves!

4:46 PM  
Blogger Novlangue said...

The pronunciation "evil-ution" is the usual one over here in little old Britain.

A question evolutionists can't answer is:

there are 600 trillion connections in the brain. How many evolved per year/generation? The brain is said to be 600 million years old. So that's 600 000 000 000 000 / 600 000 000.
I think that's 100 000 per year?

April 30. 17:50 BST

12:49 PM  
Blogger Darron S said...

there are 600 trillion connections in the brain. How many evolved per year/generation? The brain is said to be 600 million years old. So that's 600 000 000 000 000 / 600 000 000.
I think that's 100 000 per year?

Oh Oh Oh! I know! I know! The answer is: GOD-DID-IT!!!!

Unfortunately, "god" answers everything, and therefore solves nothing. If humans answered with "god" every time they didn't know how something worked we'd still be in the stone age.

It is not the answer, but the Question which drives us! Cheers!

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"showing the construction of the Berlin Wall"

Silly, silly, silly. The right analogy is China's attempt to control Internet access.

Roger Ebert's opinion:

2:20 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

If you look into the lives of some of the founders of modern science - Issac Newton, etc. you will find that science became a quest to discover the blueprint of the designer. Having a personal relationship with God filled Newton with a desire to know more about the way the universe has been put together. Rather than squashing inquiry and scientific thought, a faith drove the founders of modern science to understand as much as they could about the principles that cause the world to function in the way that it does.

12:48 AM  

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