My review of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

A couple weeks ago I suffered through watching Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. I am going to give an overview of the movie so you don’t have to sit through it. If you want an in depth review, I suggest you read Roger Ebert ‘s excellent review.

The first thing I noticed is that the movie was thoroughly unentertaining. I know that it is a low-budget documentary, but it just droned on and on. I guess a lot of this could have been due to the narrator, Ben Stein. Seriously, I don’t know what they were thinking when they decided to use him. In Ferris Bueller’s Day off, Ben Stein was chosen because of his monotone speech as an example of a horribly boring teacher.

Another thing that I noticed is that for a movie that is pushing the idea of intelligent design, there really wasn’t much discussion of the science. It would have been a really good place to showcase the real proof of intelligent design (if there were any). There also wasn’t any discussion of the evidence for or against evolutionary theory. Instead, the focus of the movie was to find people who are blaming their being laid off on their belief in intelligent design. Actually, that was only the first part of the movie. Most of the movie was either focused on how all evolution believers are atheists or how a belief in evolution allows someone to become a Nazi.

Lets go over why the connection between Nazis and evolution is wrong again. The Nazi’s were trying to make the perfect race. They were attempting this by limiting or stopping procreation of people that they deemed were inferior. Ben Stein and ID proponents argue that the Nazis were using the ideas of evolution to accomplish this. First, evolutionary theory deals with natural selection not forced selection. Second, the Nazis only needed to know about inheritance, not evolution, to accomplish their goal. If any scientist should be blamed, it would have to be the scientist and priest, Gregory Mendel. Finally, what the Nazis were engaging in was human breeding. The idea of animal breeding has been around for thousands upon thousands of years before Charles Darwin was even born.

After seeing the movie, I was struck by how hypocritical the creators of this movie were when they threw PZ Myers out of the theatre in an advanced screening of the movie. They literally expelled one of the people that is in the movie.  Yet they go on and on about how unfair it is that outsiders aren’t let in, freedom, etc.

Speaking of PZ Myers, here is an scene in the movie when Ben Stein is asking PZ about religion. PZ says (104 minutes in) that he thinks that religion should become something of a “side dish and not the main course.” Right after we hear Ben Stein ask “but will eradication of religion really lead to a modern utopia?” PZ never said anything about eradication.  Couldn’t they have done a better job and make it less obvious that they are twisting PZ’s words around?

At another point in the movie, Ben Stein was being an immature jerk when he was interviewing Richard Dawkins. He asked Richard Dawkins to give him a number on how certain he was that god didn’t exist. Dawkins says 99%. Then Stein pesters him over and over about that number. “Why not 97%”  Dawkins continues “It is hard to put a guess on it. I am not comfortable putting a number on it.” Stein keeps going. “Why not 49%?” This is a meaningless line of questioning just so Stein can try to be mean to Dawkins. Frankly I am surprised that they left that in the movie. Imagine what they left out…

What about the supposed real purpose of the movie, the idea that Intelligent Design proponents are being expelled? The movie showed a few people who lost their jobs, but no real smoking gun that it was due to their belief in Intelligent design. The NCSE has done an excellent job in giving the full story to each of the “expelled.”

In the end, the movie was exactly what it was predicted to be: full of bad arguments with no real substance. If you are looking for some real, logical arguments to support intelligent design, you won’t find it here.

NCSE’s youtube channel

The National Center for Science Education has series of videos about the Texas state board of education hearings that happened earlier this year.  The are quite informative as to the thought processes of those that are antiscience and against the accurate teaching of evolution.

Videos can be found here.

To get you started, below is a video from chairman Don Mcleroy:

Luskin can’t find a fact to support intelligent design (Part 2)

In the first part of my two part blog post addressing Casey Luskin’s assertion of the existence of facts that support intelligent design(ID), I analyzed Luskin’s overview of the framework for ID.  In that post, I concluded that the very ideas that intelligent design are grounded on are completely arbitrary and baseless.  In my second part, I was hoping to analyze real data that ID proponents bring forth when arguing for ID.  Unfortunately, I did not find anything that resembles a scientific argument from Luskin.

The purpose of Luskin’s post was as a response to students seeking to “find a fact” that supports ID.  However,  Luskin does not give any “facts” He gives generalities and provides post hoc explanations.  Phrases like “ID explains why” and “ID encourages” are in places where facts should have been.  References are included, but he never states one solid fact that came from these studies.

Facts would have been something like this:

  • The fossils of Tiktaalik show bone structures that are a hybrid of water living and land living animals. They were found in a geological place and time that corresponds to a time shortly before fossils of land animals can be found.
  • Genes between closely related species have a high degree of homology.  Less related species have less homology.

How hard would it have been to provide equivalent facts? Not very, provided there are real facts to back up intelligent design.  Since Luskin never provided any real information, I am not going to devote any more time to Luskin’s “facts.”