Saturday, May 10, 2008

expelled!


Bil decided to take me on a date for Mother's Day weekend and so we went to the movies. I had hoped to see some fluffy romantic comedy, since I was tired and in the mood for mindless entertainment. Unfortunately, there was nothing playing like that which sounded good. (For some reason Bil just didn't want to see "Made of Honor" and I wasn't too sure about it myself.) The only movie playing around here that sounded interesting was Ben Stein's "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed." This is a documentary about Intelligent Design and its place in the world of science.

Aside from the fact that this was not a mindless romance, I was hesitant to see it for other reasons. I had heard if you are a Christian, you need to see this movie, and to be honest, whenever I hear things like that around here, I get nervous. I have had so many terribly made movies recommended to me because they are "Christian" movies, and don't even get me started on the poorly written Christian romance novels one friend unloads on me by the boxful. Sorry for the snobbery....

Also, I was afraid it would not be a reasonable, rational depiction of Creationism. A friend of mine recently overheard a mom at a science museum, who said that she wanted to know where the dinosaurs were so she and her kids could avoid them. They didn't believe in dinosaurs because they believed in Creationism, so she didn't even want to expose her kids to them. I was worried this movie would be something like that comment. I mean, I totally believe in Creationism, but I do not think the existence of God in any way negates the existence of dinosaurs and other scientific discoveries that have been made about the earth millions of years ago. Also, I really have a problem with only giving kids (or adults, for that matter) one side of the story. I think people need to be able to question, even *gasp* their religious beliefs. After all, my dad always said, "If you never question your religion, you must not be thinking about it very much."
Well, my fears proved to be unfounded. We went to see the movie and it was AMAZING!!!! I completely recommend and even urge you to go see this movie. It was so well-done, very provocative and interesting and even had a rocking soundtrack, complete with John Lennon, Johnny Cash covering Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus," and the Killers, among others.

Ben Stein interviews many, many well-known scientists, mathemeticians, biologists and philosophers. His point is not to necessarily prove that there is a God. Instead, he takes issue with the fact that many scientists are losing tenure and/or being blacklisted merely because they imply that Intelligent Design should be researched as a viable alternative to Darwinism. Apparently, in the scientific community, even mentioning ID is tantamount to career suicide. An editor of the Smithsonian science magazine (can't remember the name of it) was fired for printing an article that debunked parts of Darwinism and said that ID might be right. It was flabbergasting how overarching this prejudice is. Stein's point (and that of many scientists) is that we should be able to look at both sides of the argument, and scientists shouldn't be punished for pursuing a line of reasoning that is not very popular. After all, most of the major scientists in history presented very unpopular ideas, which turned out to be true.

The really interesting part, in my opinion, is when Stein interviewed staunch Darwinist scientists and asked them how did life start on this planet, if not by intelligent design. None of them could answer definitively. There are many theories, most of which sound like they were headlines culled from The National Enquirer. One such theory is that aliens from another planet seeded life on this planet and then those cells evolved into all the life forms now present. How can that theory be any less crazy than Intelligent Design?

Well, I have rambled enough for now. Please consider seeing this movie. Even if you think Darwin was 100% correct in all his theories, I think this movie is important to see, because it portrays the lack of intellectual freedom afforded to those academics who question some of its theories. It definitely provides much fodder for discussion. Let me know when you see it. I would love to talk to you about it.

1 comment:

Anne said...

This does sound interesting. I will probably have to wait until it is released on DVD, but I will rent it and let you know what I thought.