Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

A documentary by Nathan Frankowski. Rated PG. Opens Friday, June 27, at the Cinemark Tinseltown

Truth begins and ends with the title of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a semislick advertorial for “intelligent design”, the sanitized public mask of creationism, itself invented by Christians who think their God is too stupid to have come up with evolution on his own.

Assembled by Nathan Frankowski, who did some Bush-lionizing on The Path to 9/11, this journey into ignorance is hosted by Ben Stein, a former Nixon speechwriter whose deadpan face was introduced in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. He and the director borrow heavily from the Michael Moore playbook, as Stein plays dumb while asking leading questions to which he already knows the answers.

Various cranks, allegedly fired from academia for their outrageous anti-Darwinist queries, give the usual freedom-of-speech spiels. (The genuine questions raised here have to do more with the notion of tenure than science, but that’s too subtle for movie palaver.) And leading evolutionary thinker and outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins—seen in several interviews—only gradually recognizes that he is being set up.

The talking-head stuff is intercut with shots of the besneakered Stein on the hoof, musing bland generalities about “democracy” over a generic Americana score. There’s also copious archival footage, little of which relates to the subject at hand. This is amusing for the first half-hour, as the filmmakers attempt to tie something called Big Science to ancient images of Communism; it’s even worth a giggle when John Lennon’s lyrics are juxtaposed with the face of Joseph Stalin. But when the music turns minor-key and Charles Darwin is explicitly blamed for the horrors of the Holocaust, you realize that Stein and company are really up to no good.

Modern politics are scrupulously avoided, so there’s no recognition that science itself has been under systematic attack for, oh, just about eight years. There are corporate interests to protect while conveniently pandering to a fundamentalist base that, in reality, is rapidly deserting Halliburton and company as the planet burns. That shouldn’t stop the fine minds behind Expelled, however. Next up, a “controversial” double bill of Galileo Got It Wrong and Gravity: Who the Hell Needs It?

For further coverage, read Storm gathers around Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed




Jun 26, 2008 at 3:23pm

I wouldn't expect any less from the Straight, but why should anyone take you seriously as a newspaper? This review includes no discussion at all for the evidence of intelligent design (where do morals, order and logic come from?) and no discussion of all about why a naturalistic worldview based on Darwinian evolution*, can be used to justify genocide like the Holocaust (again that moral truth idea - naturalism can't explain why the Holocaust is wrong). By the way, to feign anger at Stein and his crew is to admit there are moral standards that we should live by, moral standards that can't be explained by Darwinism but are better explained by design.

The very arguments you use against Stein's journalism can be used against you!

Pot, meet kettle.

*Note: If you bothered to understand the intelligent design argument, you'd know there are at least two parts to it: 1. That the universe needed a beginning (which fits perfectly with what we know about the Big Bang) and that that beginning had to have a non-natural, call it a, supernatural cause 2. Living organisms look designed; evolution does not seem to have the explanatory scope to account for the order in DNA let alone the order of the human eye parts. In other words, you can still believe in ID if you believe God used evolution to create the universe. Atheists like Dawkins reject both premises, something science cannot support.

Mike Cantelon

Jun 26, 2008 at 3:54pm

Morals, order, and logic are all useful things. Evolution kills off things that aren't useful. If morality is a result of intelligent design, why are there diferent moral standards around the world?

Joel Wiens

Jun 26, 2008 at 6:01pm

In the news, today, Georgia Straight reporter Ken Eisner reports...SCIENCE UNDER ATTACK!!! Oh, no! The Christians are coming!

Wow that is a weak final paragraph for a weak review. Granted this documentary is ham-handed, and disingenuous, but man. Science itself under systematic attack? Come ON. It's just another bad Christian movie. How much do you really know about ID by the way, Ken? Questioned any paradigms recently? Too busy defending science against the barbarians?

Lyndon Birch

Jun 26, 2008 at 11:21pm

It's time we got wise to these right-wing religionists tactics: thugs pose as victims, "scholars" argue the wisdom of anti-intellectualism. Pompous pontificators like Ben Stein and Michael Coren are velvet gloves on the fists of authoritarianism. Anti-science breathes life into their dying religions. Global warming is the their new big lie. They want to see us all burn in a man-made hell.


Jun 27, 2008 at 12:58am

uh, yes - from the states - science IS under attack. You might be luckier in Canada. The attack is far more than one incredibly bad film. Creationism failed the teaching of religion in science test, as did Intelligent Design. Latest incarnation is "academic freedom." Evolution is the beachhead. Surveys show almost 1/2 of this country believes the earth is 6,000 years old. How can you teach science when kids are taught that?