Say “Ben Stein” and the word “comedian” is more likely to come to mind than “intellectual.” And Ben is certainly funny. But he’s more than that and proves it in his feature film, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.
This film asks the weighty question, “If we expel freedom in science, where will it end?” To find the answer, Stein travels to 12 countries on 4 continents, interviewing an impressive list of scholars in the sciences, theology, and philosophy. He asks them why “Big Science” makes no use of the hypothesis of God and why Intelligent Design discussions are suppressed. The answers he records are breathtaking in their political correctness, disdain for religion and religious people (“idiots,” one scholar said), cavalier attitude toward debate, and fear of free speech.
Expelled is not an advocacy flick for Intelligent Design. Rather, Stein probes why a scientific elite is systematically betraying one of America’s founding principles: the freedom to create, explore, fail, overcome, inquire, debate.
I.D. is simply the study of patterns in nature best explained by intelligence. It is not necessarily Christian or religious. Yet in its zeal for Darwin’s theory of evolution, the scientific community stifles serious consideration of Intelligent Design. I.D. is called propaganda, a racket, stupid, an excuse to introduce creationism into the classroom, and my favorite—boring. But what could be more intellectually engaging than to allow evidence, rather than the courts, to decide the merits of I.D., evolution, or any other theory of origins?
No matter. In the scientific community today, power trumps freedom in the name of truth.
The intellectual supremacy that rules science is on full display in Expelled. It’s a supremacy based upon a worldview, a philosophic paradigm rejecting the idea of God, or even the idea of “an Intelligence,” while embracing the “staggeringly improbable” idea that life began by chance. In this view, human beings, along with the rest of the universe, were not created by the Sovereign Creator of the Bible’s Book of Genesis, nor by some kind of Intellect. Life began when, by chance, crystals or particles or an explosion generated a molecular cell. Life (you and me) just happened. Thereafter, Darwin’s evolutionary processes took over and the cell became an organism became a fish became a monkey became a cave man became our Great, Great Grandpa.
Some anti-theists waffle a bit, suggesting the cell was initiated by a visitor from another galaxy—a brainy being of some kind—but they’re uncertain about what or who. Though there’s not a shred of evidence for this fantasy, anti-theists still smugly maintain the alien space traveler wasn’t God. And they conveniently avoid explaining the origin of that alien species.
Proponents of Darwinism-sans-deity claim their pseudo-religion grants us freedom from primitive superstition. But it’s a faux freedom that enslaves human beings to meaninglessness. No deity? Than no objective standard for determining right from wrong. No morality. No accountability. No responsibility. No life after death. No certainty, just chance, just chaos. Most devastating of all: No hope.
You see, suppression of freedom to debate all ideas in the scientific classroom is about more than Evolution vs. I.D. It’s about more than academic freedom. It’s about scientists teaching a philosophy that devalues human life (what Pope John Paul II called a “culture of death”) and—literally—makes anything acceptable. Eugenics, euthanasia, ethnic cleansing, genocide. Why not? If life begins in the Great Lottery in the Sky why should we believe it ends any differently? And if life begins and ends meaninglessly, than what happens in the middle doesn’t matter either.
Scientists who suppress freedom inexorably create an Orwellian world where only two choices are left to us: Nihilism—pointless, violent fear and loathing, or Hedonism—pointless, immoral, pleasure-seeking. Is it any wonder that so much of cinema today is about one or both?
Ben Stein’s Expelled does freedom proud. And in doing so he serves up truth and hope.
Originally published: “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Why Ben Stein says “No Lie Lives Forever.”),” The Dove Foundation , (March 17, 2008); and Family Entertainment Central, (March 19, 2008); and The West Michigan Christian, (April 2008), p. 1.
© Dr. Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2008
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