I posted a week or so ago about wanting to go the movie Expelled, and I just wanted to follow up. I did, in fact, see it. Following are my thoughts on it.
Yesterday the grump and I ventured into a movie theater for the first time in 2008. Most of what Hollywood has to offer these days is boring, predictable and useless, so I don't generally bother paying for tickets to see it. I'll wait for NetFlix to have it, thank you very much. Expelled seemed different, so we decided to go see it on opening weekend. We were not disappointed.
The entire film is overlayed with the metaphor of our current scientific community's refusal to tolerate dissent being likened to the Berlin Wall. At the end, Ben's call to open up the discussion between the two opposing views of the origins of life is entwined with Regan's "tear down this wall" speech. The overall theme of the movie is NOT "God created the world" as many would have you believe, but rather freedom of speech and the freedom of researchers, editors and teachers to express ideas that are not necessarily in line with what science overall believes today.
I thoroughly enjoyed not only the content of the film itself, but also the style of presentation. I was entertained and I learned a few things along the way, and to me that is the hallmark of a good documentary. Critics of Expelled have said that it is both boring and one-sided, but I think they did a fantastic job of giving air time to those who oppose the concept of ID. They covered everyone from the raving lunatic who stated that there is no such thing as free will to the scientist who believes that life formed "on the backs of crystals," whatever that's supposed to mean. And I don't recall any moment of the film when I felt the least bit bored, despite it being a documentary.
Some of the more interesting parts of the film, in my opinion, were those in which Ben interviewed leading authorities on Adolph Hitler, who was a self-professed Darwinist. Hitler believed that the atrocities committed by his regime were of benefit to humankind in that he was helping along the process of natural selection. Of course, Hitler was not the only one to have used Darwin's theories to inflict their will on those around them. Just look up the history of "eugenics" if you're curious.
Many people believe today that if you don't agree with what the majority of scientists agree on, you don't belong in the scientific field. If those who didn't agree with the scientific thought of their day had kept silent historically, we would still believe the world to be flat and situated at the center of the universe. In order for science and thought to move forward, there MUST be dissenters. Otherwise, ideas stagnate. Now, whether Neo-Darwinism's explanations or Intelligent Design's are the true source of "life, the universe and everything" is hardly the point here. The point is that BOTH sides of the argument must be heard, researched and proven before any level of certainty can be derived. If you want to believe that man evolved from apes, that's fine. If you want to write papers, books, essays, articles and the like that are based around that theory, that's fine too. The very constitution of the United States of America guarantees your right to do so. But don't tell those who disagree that they don't have the the right to do the same.
I have long been disgusted by the refusal of many to hear anything that might come close to suggesting that God exists. I do have friends who are atheists, agnostics, humanists and anything else you can think of, but these people all share one quality. They respect that I am a Christian and do not belittle me for it. In return, I respect that they are not Christians and I don't try to change them. (Changing hearts is not my job... if you want to know more about that, feel free to leave a comment.) Currently though, our politically correct climate says that anyone who says that there is a "right" and a "wrong" should be silenced in the name of "tolerance".
Perhaps Expelled will serve as a wake up call to America. I doubt it, but I still hold out hope. Lady Bird Johnson once said, "the clash of ideas is the sound of freedom." I pray that we will again hear that sound in the hallways and offices of science and academia.