Intelligent design. Is it a legitimate proposal that should be considered in the modern scientific community? It’s a question that Ben Stein puts forth in the recent documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Though Ben does not and cannot settle the issue on his own, he does make it clear that there is a group of individuals within the scientific community that are not just against intelligent design but are hostile towards it: who often confuse it as a religious belief incompatible with science.
Luckily, in his signature monotone fashion, Ben points out the common misconception that intelligent design and creationism are the same philosophical belief. Religious individuals often propose the latter, while the former is perfectly compatible with nearly any walk of life and philosophical belief – except one. That lone incompatible philosophical mind set is known as scientific materialism. Scientific materialism is the philosophical belief that, in short, proposes that all that exists is the physical world and everything can be known according to physical reactions. There is no room for supernatural events or anything that exists outside our known space, time, and matter in the scientific materialistic world-view. Stein didn’t go into scientific materialism itself, but it is clearly there in the philosophical undertones of many of the Darwinian scientists he interviews.
The main point of this documentary is not so much a push for or against a certain philosophical belief as it is an attempt to remind the scientific community that they might not be as open to alternate theories as they claim to be. As it is, Stein demonstrates the closed mindedness of certain scientific communities that hide behind the banner of academic freedom, but really what these nay saying scientists really mean by the term “academic freedom” is that you are free to believe as they do, and to propose another theory could mean suicide to one’s professional scientific career even if there is good reason to that alternate theory.
The weakness of the movie is that there is mention of the holes in Darwinism and other scientific claims, but Stein never goes into what those holes are and how ID can or might fill those holes. The viewer doesn’t learn about Darwin’s theory and doesn’t learn how to have an intelligent conversation with others about ID or Darwinism. Surprisingly, the movie does make known the shady origins of Planned Parenthood and makes known its origins in Darwin’s theory, eugenics, and how the Nazis used the ideas of eugenics, propagated by Planned Parenthood, to usher in the murder of disabled, Jews, and others the Nazis deemed unfit for society. A theory of natural selection, when applied to humanity, makes humanity a thing that can be used and disposed of on and at the whim of another.
Overall, I found the movie enjoyable. It isn’t a ‘must see’, but it is worth seeing at some point. It does raise some interesting concerns in the realm of academic freedom and scientific honesty, which are always hot button issues. Also, one must consider after watching the movie if scientists are being honest in not considering an alternative theory that might be equally useful in explaining how some parts of the world function?