Taking the "Expelled Challenge"

Earlier this year, intelligent design advocates were trumpeting the forthcoming "fall of Darwinism" with the release of the propaganda film Expelled. The film stirred up some controversy, had a modest (at best) showing, and generally preached to the choir, but it didn't seem to have as momentous a reception as the filmmakers were hoping for.

I was curious about what the entire film was like, but I wasn't about to support the people behind it by seeing it in theaters or purchasing a DVD. Last week, however, I noticed that Netflix has added Expelled to a list of movies subscribers can watch for free online.

I will probably watch the film tonight or tomorrow, but before I do, I wanted to ask if anyone else has seen it. What did you think of it? Did it offer anything new, or was it just a rehash of the same century-old arguments we are all so familiar with?

[Like what you see here? Then vote for me in the 3rd Annual Blogging Scholarship contest!]

More like this

It's Monday morning, three days after the opening of the creationist propaganda piece Expelled, and everyone seems to be talking about whether the film can be considered to be a success or not. Wing Nut Daily says that it was a resounding success (despite coming in at #8), while many of my fellow…
A polar bear (Ursus maritimus), photographed at the Bronx Zoo.[Like what you see here? Then vote for me in the 3rd Annual Blogging Scholarship contest!]
A lace monitor (Varanus varius), photographed at the Bronx Zoo.[Like what you see here? Then vote for me in the 3rd Annual Blogging Scholarship contest!]
A false gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii), photographed at the Bronx Zoo.[Like what you see here? Then vote for me in the 3rd Annual Blogging Scholarship contest!]

Dude! You've got the lead!

ps: Rather than watch Expelled, you may as well just take a purgative and be done with it.

I have seen it. "Darwin is to blame for the Holocaust" is not yet a century-old argument.

By Trin Tragula (not verified) on 19 Nov 2008 #permalink

J; I figured as much, but I thought I would ask. I will have some Tylenol at the ready for when the inevitable headache starts to kick in.

Trin; 1) Well, what did you think of it?

2) As I have previously documented, the "Darwin is to blame for the Holocaust" is just another form of a much older argument that makes Darwin to blame for general social ills and specific events.

Concerning WWI, creationists blamed the conflict on Darwin. The creationist George McCready Price blamed communism on Darwin, too, and the "Darwin is to blame for the Holocaust" is just another in a long line of "Darwin is to blame for [insert conflict/social ill here]." It is nothing new at all.


I lasted only 11 minutes into the movie, including the title sequence (which was simply movies of Nazis), although I do have a supremely low tolerance of inane drivel. I kept shouting "lies, LIES" at the TV, but alas to no avail.

Just remember, when liars for Jesus are doing the accusing, everything bad is the result of Darwin.

By Louis Irving (not verified) on 19 Nov 2008 #permalink

The movie was an amazing waste of time. Ben Stein cannot even get the population of the Earth correct. It was sloppy, unfunny and would be offensive if it weren't so over the top. I reviewed it back when it came out after I saw it with two friends. It is noteworthy that both friends ended up with more positive impressions of Dawkins after the movie then they had going into it.

I too recently watched it online through Netflix. I am happy to not have wasted a mail carrier's energy putting it in my mailbox, but it is good that I know what the movie was, so I have the context when reading critiques of it. Poorly filmed (I don't need to be looking up Berlinksi's nose!), poorly edited, unnecessary stock footage of Nazis, the Berlin wall (which acts as a metaphor for a "wall" in academia), and positioning Stein as this objective investigator into this tenure problem is hogwash...

Expelled is such a thoroughly convincing argument for Intelligent Design that it pushed one doubter into atheism.

(I know I shouldn't laugh at such things, as these crises of the heart involve real misery, but part of my brain refuses to stop screaming, "PROPAGANDA FAIL!")

Somewhere in the furor scribendi over Expelled back in April, it was suggested that the proper way to see the movie was to gather a whole bunch of science fans dressed as Richard Dawkins and leave a token sacrificial friend outside the theatre, dressed as a squid and playing with his Macbook.

I don't need to be looking up Berlinksi's nose!

Well, how else can we find out if his brains are still in there?


Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week.

I also watched it through netflix for many of the same reasons. I made it about 35 minutes before shutting it off. The tactic of having Stein as a pseudo-neutral journalist was initially amusing to me (Ben Stein, like all honest scientists, is just trying to discover the truth). Unfortunately the pretense wore thin much too quickly and the misrepresentations grew much too frustrating for me to sit through. Good Luck!

In no particular order:

* Darwinism is to blame for holocaust, but is more like the Berlin wall
* ID is so underfunded that Ben Stein can't even afford a map
* We're going to interview all these scientists, but we're not going to discuss the subject of the movie, but, instead, religion
* Richard Dawkins believes in aliens. ALIENS!
* Oh noes! We're being suppressed!

And, of course, there are all those scientists who were "expelled" for completely unrelated things.

Rather frustratingly, and as rhett mentioned, Ben Stein was pretending to be neutral and, repeatedly went on about how in this film he was just trying to "find out more" about Darwinism (by visiting Nazi death camps, obviously) and asking (seemingly) tough questions of the featured ID proponents.

It's also rather boring, with rather a lot of Lord Privy Seals.

I tried what you are planning on doing.

I agree with Louis, I only lasted through the first interviewee complaining about being "fired" when his term as editor was up. Unbelievably boring (and the camera work got annoying FAST). And I usually have a good stomach for inane drivel.

Now maybe if there was some sort of drinking game involved, it would be a different story (actually, I thought this post was along those lines). But as it is, I have no desire to attempt to see it anymore.

Watch it! Watch It All!

And if you survive it reasonably intact, a lot of us would be really interested in hearing your comments.