There’s a movie coming out on Creationism, Intelligent Design, and Evolution, called Expelled, and it’s narrated/hosted by Ben Stein (right), a TV/film personality who is an overall intelligent guy (and used to have the TV show Win Ben Stein’s Money), and used to be a Nixon speechwriter. Politically, he’s quite conservative (for example, immediately following 9/11 he gave a speech where he called abortion “the worst form of terrorism”), but this movie is apparently one of the worst abuses of science since What the Bleep do We Know?! came out.
The movie has an innocuous enough premise: is Intelligent Design a valid alternative to Evolution, and if so, is it being suppressed? I was curious to see it, until I started hearing about the content of the film. It’s apparently so galling that there is a website, ExpelledExposed.com, committed to exposing the lies and underhandedness in the film. Apparently, the holocaust is referred to numerous times as well, equating evolution with the final solution.
But what’s missing from the film is a definition of intelligent design, a definition of evolution, and the evidence for and against both sides. While you all know I’m not a biologist, evolution holds a special place in my heart, and I consider myself an amateur enthusiast on the topic. But what it boils down to is that ID basically states that life was created by a purposeful designer, because it is too complex to have evolved by natural mechanisms alone. Evolution states that natural selection, operating in the face of mutation, reproduction, and limited resources, chooses some organisms for survival instead of others, and that this natural process explains the world teeming with life that we have today. The evidence for the validity of evolution is overwhelming, so much so that the only “failures” one can point to are incomplete fossil records (geological gaps, basically), controversy over the exact mechanism of variations and natural selection (gradualism or punctuated equilibrium), and a failure to explain the origin of life, which is a separate theory, known as abiogenesis. But apparently none of this is stated in the movie, all that’s stated is that bigoted scientists are suppressing a real controversy. Might as well just go to The Onion for news like this.
This is actually a very personal issue for me. You see, evolution is not just a remarkable story, and it’s certainly not just a scientific theory. It’s the autobiography of the natural world. It’s the story that life tells us about itself. And what I study, cosmology, is the story that the Universe tells us about itself. If evolution is under attack for taking an active God out of the design of life, what do you think I have to look forward to, taking an active God out of the design of the entire Universe? I will not wait for them to come for me; I am speaking out now against the evil that is the perpetuation of misinformation. Intelligent Design is a hypothesis that has been scientifically falsified so far as it has been stated in a testable fashion, while Evolution has held up as the valid mechanism to explain the diversity of life in every test ever performed over the timespan of more than a century.
And I’m not going to lie, I’m curious to see the film for myself to find out just how bad it is and what we’re up against as communicators of truthful, valid information. But I cannot endorse it or support it, and instead I encourage you to follow the links set up at the site below, and to get informed about the issues. And finally, do not support this movie!
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