Sunday, April 27, 2008
Have I ever actually gone to a movie theater to watch a documentary? I'm pretty sure the answer is, "no." I have rented them. More often I have watched them on PBS or some other educational channel or in school. But it was worth the $20 ($30, if you count the popcorn and drink--$50, if you count paying the babysitters) that it cost to see EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed. This movie, from seriously funny guy (funny in a serious way--do you know what I mean?), Ben Stein, was interesting, funny, thought-provoking, and unusually suspenseful. There wasn't a dull moment--I don't think I looked at my watch once.
What is it about, you ask? In a nutshell (and borrowing the synopsis from fandango): Ben Stein follows his journey around the globe where he discovers that scientists, educators and philosophers are being persecuted in a modern day witch hunt because they dare to go against the theory of evolution. These pillars of education are being fired, ridiculed and ostracized for merely challenging Darwin’s theory; proposing that life on this planet could be a part of some intelligent design and not random chance. This thought-provoking film not only forces us to question what we have been taught but challenges us to ask--What else is being kept from us?
Eric is a bit of an Intelligent Design buff and was very interested in seeing this film. We were not disappointed. We were the second couple in the theater and I imagined that there wouldn't be many more. I was surprised to see the seats gradually fill up. There were even several junior and high school aged kids there as well (probably forced by their parents). But let me reiterate the fact that it was not at all boring. The film was cleverly pieced together with snippets of old footage of the Berlin wall and various other sources.
If you have heard about any of the controversy surrounding this film it would probably be those asserting that Ben Stein equates Darwin with Hitler. I can see where people may take the leap to this conclusion, but I came away believing that Stein is merely pointing to the fact that Hitler was influenced by Darwin. And, having not read Origin of the Species myself, I cannot personally attest to Darwin's exact words regarding survival of the fittest or where, exactly, that line of thinking leads. I'm obviously not a scientist and can only give my opinion as a layperson, but the conclusions Stein came to are very logical.
I'm not sure if I have done this film justice with my ignorant ramblings, but I highly recommend seeing this movie and judging for yourself.