Have you heard about a film called Expelled – Intelligence not allowed? We went to see it last night. Oh. My. God. As I keep saying, if I was an O-level teacher and one of my students gave me an essay so flimsily argued, making such outrageous claims and so inconsistent, I would fail him. And of course, the thing is that people who agree with the film will say that this is proof that what the film says is right.
Basically, it was about the arguments within the science community about the investigation of intelligent design, saying that all those scientists who even dare to question “darwinism” are hounded out of their jobs. Further it implies (and then pretty much says) that all evolutionary biologists are opposed to religion. Some of its more “noteworthy” elements:
the film-makers never once define what is meant by intelligent design. At one point they mock those who designate it as “life is so complicated, it must have been designed by God”, without saying why that is not accurate.
It uses evolution and darwinism interchangeably, and doesn’t give any room for the theory to have advanced since Darwin’s time, which it clearly has.
It subtly (at the beginning) and then blatantly equates belief in evolution with dictatorship, flashing images of Stalin etc early on in the film and having a sequence in the middle where they state that Darwinism was an influence on Nazism, filming in Dachau.
The proponents of evolutionary biology interviewed are people like Richard Dawkins, with very strong atheist views. Not one interview with someone who reconciles their belief in a higher being with their belief in evolution (and I know there are thousands of those).
It was a shoddy, sensationalistic piece of film-making, and perhaps I should leave it at that. But the problem is that it is going to be taken and used by people to advance an agenda. And those people are either not going to appreciate or not going to care that this film is a bad argument for their ideas. I’m not opposed to a discussion of evolution, the consideration of new avenues – that’s the core of the scientific method – postulate, examine, experiment, develop. But I don’t see how this film helps anyone. Also, if we talk about freedom to think what you want in America, there are many more areas where scientists face restrictions than impose them, in my view.