Expelled on DVD

The long wait has ended: you can finally avoid watching this movie on disc, not just at the theater.

What a transparent load of dishonest, manipulative crap. The basic premise of the movie is that “evolution” = “Darwinism.” This of course is outright incorrect. A sub-theme is that Darwinism should be able to explain the beginning of life; the fact that it “comes into play later,” and only attempts to describe a mechanism of later changes, is taken as an insurmountable weakness, a point for the opposition.

Ben Stein didn’t even make a minimal effort to educate himself on the subject. The whole strategy of the film is–surprise–exactly like the science [sic] of Intelligent Design: he tracks down a handful of individuals who claim that they’ve been discriminated against because they’ve merely mentioned the topic. His “evidence” is thus simply hearsay: he makes no attempt to track down any documentation of any of this instances or discrimination, or interview the discriminators. He simply feigns shock and sympathy when a fired professor, or a “blacklisted” doctor complains they’ve been victimized for their beliefs. End of story, evidence accepted.

A couple of the exampled victims describe “breakthroughs” in theory that they happened upon by applying engineering knowledge to a biological problem. This, somehow, proves that the biology was engineered. This would mean that the metaphor that the discoverers of DNA used to help explain it (the programming of computer) PROVES that therefore DNA was programmed by a heavenly programmer.

Beyond that, most of the people he interviews simply reinforce his confusion between the terms “evolution” and “Darwinism,” and every time someone questions Darwinism–even Stephen J. Gould questioned some of the conclusions of Darwin–he takes that for another nail in the coffin of evolution. Sheer ignorance. Which, and this is the infuriating part, is capable of being fixed: educate yourself. But he doesn’t.


(Disclaimer: I quit about halfway through. If anyone can tell me that he addresses any of the above points in the second half, I promise to go back and finish it.)

I initially read the title to this thread as “Expelled a DVD” and thought to myself, “someone has expelled a DVD out of their ass?” And then I looked closer and realized I was right.

I just saw this. My favorite bit about the movie is that there’s not one shred of evidence about why Intelligent Design should be taught in classrooms, other than… you should teach Intelligent Design. I guess either (a) the makers of the movie just assumed their audience would already know the ins-and-outs of ID or (b) they hoped no one would notice.

The movie is all evolution, evolution, evolution and Darwinism, Darwinism, Darwinism. I’d love to see a word cloud weighting the use of these two terms in the movie, so that we could compare it against the use of “Intelligent Design.” I think that’d be pretty illustrative.

Also, I was surprised that Michael Behe wasn’t in this movie. Didn’t he pretty much get the ball rolling with his “Irreducible Complexity” research? Maybe it’s because, as far as I can remember, most of what he thought was irreducibly complex has since been shown to have simpler forms which could quite logically have evolved.

I haven’t seen it, but two worst things about the film for me:

  1. It made me lose all respect for Ben Stein. Previously I thought he was pretty cool and rather smart.

  2. It made me lose a bit of respect for my best friend, who wanted to see the movie and defended it’s premise.