Expelled Exposed: Midweek Roundup 04-23-2008

expelled movie exposedThe God Connection

Baylor University’s newspaper the “Lariat” reports on “Expelled”, exposing once again that Intelligent Design is a theological concept.

Robert Marks, a professor at Baylor and Intelligent Design proponent, commented

“I thought it portrayed things pretty well as they are ­– that science by decree of entrenched Darwinism has no room for a God hypothesis,” Marks said. “I on the other hand think that one cannot pursue truth without consideration of a creator.”

Marks said if science defines science as void of a creator, then it’s not a pursuit of truth.

Same with associate producer Mathis

“You have a science department that’s denying a god,” Mathis said

Box Office data shows that Expelled failed to meet the $10-12 million dollar mark which had been its measure of success.


Friday it opened in 1,052 theatres and grossed $1,208,748 or $1,149 per theatre. On saturday it was one of the few movies that saw an actual drop in revenues dropping 17.6% to $996,244 or $947 per theatre. Sunday showed another drop by 23.1% to $765,856 or $728 per theatre and monday it reached $238,804 after dropping another 68.8% resulting in a per theatre gross of $227. Tuesday the numbers dropped slightly to $225,000 or $214 per theatre.


Expelled Incomplete, Lacks Cohesion

Although Ben Stein interviews several people whose careers have suffered as a result of their ID beliefs, Expelled fails to establish any pattern of widespread persecution of ID. Stein mentions several times that he interviewed many scientists who were unwilling to go on the record about their ID belief for fear of the consequences. That’s troubling, but we need more on-the-record stories to establish that the censorship of ideas is widespread.

No Intelligence Allowed, part 4 at the Stone Report

The critical response to Expelled, however, has been miserable: “simplistic, heavy-handed” (The Hollywood Reporter); “bizarre, hysterical” (The Village Voice); “one-sided, narrow minded and intellectually dishonest” (Slant Magazine.) I know: those are the liberal elites speaking. So here, for balance (and courtesy of the Rotten Tomatoes website), is Christianity Today: “The film shows that Intelligent Design should be on the table for discussion. But if you’re looking for ammo to argue your Darwinist friends under the table, look elsewhere.”

Dembski in Florida Baptist: Expelled’s’ long-term impact may outlast short-term explosion

Given Dembski’s uncanning abilities to predict the opposite of the future, we should take notice of the following ‘prediction’

Expelled’s impact will be felt immediately. But its long-term impact will be even greater. The film opens with documentary footage of the Berlin Wall going up and closes with it coming down. The day Darwinism and Intelligent Design can be fairly discussed without fear of reprisal represents the removal of a barrier even greater than the Berlin Wall. When future intellectual historians describe the key events that led to the fall of “Darwin’s Wall,” Ben Stein’s Expelled will top the list.

Cinematical: Fan Rant: ‘Expelled’ Is Awful, But Let’s at Least Be Honest About It

Having now watched the film – which is terrible, filled with specious reasoning, false dichotomies, and self-contradiction – I find that I did learn a thing or two. I had assumed that Creationism and Intelligent Design were the same thing. They are not. Creationism is the belief that God created the Earth more or less the way it’s described in Genesis. Intelligent Design merely holds that certain things about life on this planet are best explained by something supernatural. Where there are gaps in scientific knowledge, ID fills ‘em in.

IMDB weekend roundup as quoted here

“The Ben Stein documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which argued on behalf of ‘intelligent design’ – that is, the biblical view of creation – failed to bring out church groups in big numbers and settled for just $3.1 million to wind up in ninth place.”

Film Critic.com: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

And that’s the one thing that Expelled manages to expose – the rancor and malice on both ends of this issue. It isn’t an argument so much as it’s a war, complete with soldiers and battles and funding and propaganda. Expelled isn’t a thoughtfully rendered documentary about the freedom of inquiry; it’s a shot across the bow of the scientific establishment. And it just doesn’t work.

Intelligent design film far worse than stupid Ben Stein’s so-called documentary ‘Expelled’ isn’t just bad, it’s immoral

To lay blame for the Holocaust upon Charles Darwin is to engage in a form of Holocaust denial that should forever make Ben Stein the subject of scorn not because of his nudnik concern that evolution somehow undermines morality but because in this contemptible movie he is willing to subvert the key reason why the Holocaust took place — racism — to serve his own ideological end. Expelled indeed.

Slashdot: Ben Stein’s ‘Expelled’ - Evolution, Academia and Conformity

‘Expelled’ fails to sell intelligent design by John Serba The Grand Rapids Press

Now, I’m all for a good discussion. Debate exists at the heart of all healthy inquiry. But “Expelled” is slick and slimy, and anyone wanting a proper response to the onslaught of leftist documentaries – or harboring a similar viewpoint of man’s origins – likely will be put off by Stein’s smug tone and his disigenuous suggestion that not just Darwinism, but science itself is a dangerous tool of evil minds.

Column: ‘Expelled’: lacks valid arguments By Tanner Boyd

Regardless of where one personally stands on the seemingly endless struggle between science and religion, you can’t help but see that this documentary is flawed. While it’s portrayed as a look into the censoring of teaching, the core of the flick is mainly pro-conservative, Christian creationism. Stein’s documentary is certainly thought provoking and will likely stir a heated debate between you and your friends, but his findings do very little to offer any sort of answers.

Expelled’ takes a biased look at the evolution vs. creationism debate By CHRIS KRAPEK

The film never really looks at the other side of the spectrum with a level head. All the information presented on eugenics and those who follow Darwinism seems to be a little too contrived, or strategically and conveniently edited to look that way.

The lowdown: “Expelled” is definitely a film to see, merely because of the ideas and questions that are raised. However, the documentary and the way Stein channels Michael Moore with his bias ruins any chance of deeming Stein’s argumentative evidence credible.

Design and Dissent

Expelled was released on the eve of Passover. Stein and the many evangelicals supporting the film intended this to be the “Let my people go” moment when Intelligent Design would finally break through to be seen as more than a political movement.

“People will be stunned,” contended co-producer Ruloff before the film’s release, “to actually find out what elitist scientists proclaim, which is that a large majority of Americans are simpletons who believe in a fairy tale. Premise Media took on this difficult mission because we believe the greatest asset of humanity is our freedom to explore and discover truth.”

American Chronicle: Film Review: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed by Steve Shives

Despite being one of the most intellectually dishonest films I´ve ever seen, it was not quite everything I expected. One of my fears going into the film was that it would be little more than a retread of the creationist/intelligent design arguments I´m already all too familiar with. I had a naïve hope that it might have something new to offer the debate, but spent little thought on this hope, since I knew it would only break my heart. As it turns out, Expelled brings to the discussion of evolution vs. intelligent design neither the same old arguments nor anything remotely fresh. It pulls off the impressive trick of arguing for an hour and a half in favor of intelligent design, without ever actually discussing what intelligent design is, or what it says.

I saw it, so you don’t have to: Ben Stein’s ‘Expelled’

Aside from its loony-fringe politics and sheer stupidity — think, for a moment, about how dumb you’d have to be to subtitle your deadly serious pseudo-science film “No Intelligence Allowed” — this movie is just excruciatingly bad from an aesthetic perspective. Imagine if the grating schoolteacher Stein played in Bueller got a whole movie to himself, and it was a holier-than-thou culture-war diatribe instead of a fizzy teen comedy, and also Stein’s character was revealed to be an ignorant creep with a penchant for wildly inappropriate Holocaust references. Now I understand why Ferris wanted that day off so desperately!

‘Expelled’ Explodes into Top 10 Box Office By Alexander J. Sheffrin Christian Post

In an impressive opening weekend, the film debuted at No. 9 at the box office, earning a respectable $3.2 million while only appearing on 1,052 screens.

Letter: Intelligent design documentary fails to find science in concept by Mark Zlojutro, graduate student in the Laboratory of Biological Anthropology

As much as Stein would like to tear down that ideological Berlin Wall he sees existing in academia, the wall needs to remain in order to keep ID and religious philosophies out of our science classrooms and laboratories.

Congress Should Investigate Educational Institutions, Museums, Parks - And Response

Some of the backlash

Visitors to the Smithsonian are informed that, “The occurrence of a flood story in . . . the Bible . . . as well as in other folk traditions, does hint that there may have been enormous flooding . . . in a far distant time. However, . . . after literally hundreds of archeological excavations . . . no all encompassing flood stratum has ever been found.” Apparently, whoever wrote this has never driven the stretch of I-24 between Chattanooga and Nashville and observed the evidence of massive flooding near Monteagle.

… It would appear that taxpayer funded institutions, such as the Smithsonian, do discriminate on the basis of religious belief. I respectfully request the defunding of such institutions after the appropriate investigative process.

Philip W. Haymaker, Sr. Hixson

and the excellent response

I am making an assumption that you heard about Dr. Sternberg from the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Well, with some research into the way this movie was made, there are some things that Ben Stein doesn’t want you to know. First of all, the issue with Dr. Sternberg: the fact is Sternberg was never actually employed at the Smithsonian. He was an unpaid research assistant, his departure from the Smithsonian was planned far in advance, and he knew about it, as that is the nature of the job. Many of the scientists interviewed in this movie did not know what exactly they were interviewing for. One person reports being asked the same question multiple times just for the sake of eliciting a response that Stein wanted him to give. Others point out that their words were selectively edited and their responses were twisted to mean something that they had not said. Also, Stein omitted words from most of the quote he claims that Darwin wrote—in fact, the quote that he presents as Darwin having written is about one-quarter of the size that the actual quote in the book said, and states the exact opposite of what was originally written.

There are many other fallacies in this movie that one can find with research from sources of many points of view—not just evolutionist materials. Although many of my fellow Christians find this movie to be wonderful, it is doing us all a disservice by projecting half-truths or straight-up lies about the scientific community. As with any documentary that presents itself as fact, regardless of what viewpoint it is from, please approach it with caution. Think and research for yourself before accepting it as truth.

Sarah A. Axley

Seems Sarah has taken notice of Augustine’s warning about Christianity and Science

Augustine wrote:

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.

Source: Saint Augustine (A.D. 354-430) “The Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim)” (translation is by J. H. Taylor in Ancient Christian Writers, Newman Press, 1982, volume 41) (as quoted here

Open Letter to a victim of Ben Stein’s lying propaganda by Richard Dawkins

Dawkins responds to a letter that states in part

Now I truly understand who you atheists and darwinists really are! You people believe that it was okay for my great-grandparents to die in the Holocaust! How disgusting. Your past article about the Holocaust was just window dressing. We Jews will fight to keep people like you out of the United States!

Dawkins responds in part

Mr J, you have been cruelly duped by Ben Stein and his unscrupulous colleagues. It is a wicked, evil thing they have done to you, and potentially to many others. I do not know whether they knowingly and wantonly perpetrated the falsehood that fooled you. Perhaps they genuinely and sincerely believed it, although other actions by them, which you can read about all over the Internet, persuade me that they are fully capable of deliberate and calculated deception. You are perhaps not to be blamed for swallowing the film’s falsehoods, because you probably assumed that nobody would have the gall to make a whole film like that without checking their facts first. Perhaps even you will need a little more convincing that they were wrong, in which case I urge you to read it up and study the matter in detail – something that Ben Stein and his crew manifestly and lamentably failed to do.

Read Dawkins full response