Religious organizations are starting to weigh in on Expelled, and here are a couple of choice entries.
First up, the Baptist Press headline declares, “Intelligent Design foes no match for Stein in ‘Expelled.’” Michael Foust reports:
In the film, Stein travels the globe, interviewing scientists, philosophers and doctors who believe in evolution and those who believe in Intelligent Design. In case after case, Stein recounts the story of ID supporters who lost their jobs or couldn’t get tenure because of their supposed controversial beliefs.
The documentary, rated PG for thematic material and very brief language, ends in a climactic scene with Stein interviewing one of the world’s leading backers of evolution, atheist and author Richard Dawkins.
It’s unclear to me from the article whether Foust has actually seen the film (though I rather suspect the headline writer, at least, hasn’t). As is usually the case in favorable coverage of the film, Foust initially oversimplifies (and even misrepresents) the cases of those alleging intimidation, though he later goes more accurately into depth about the three major cases presented in the film; and the film doesn’t end with the Dawkins segment.
In any event, Foust goes on to say, “Christian conservative leaders are on board, supporting it. The film was shown at the recent National Religious Broadcasters meeting. It’s also scheduled to be the topic of an upcoming Focus on the Family broadcast.” And he’s right, I think, in this assessment: “Although the Nazi element might get the media’s spotlight, the majority of the documentary focuses on the ongoing fight for academic freedom by supporters of Intelligent Design.”
Foust actually does a pretty decent job of sticking to facts and quotes, though only the Expelled crew, and none of the film’s detractors, are quoted in the article. The primary quote source appears to be the March 28 telecon that Myers crashed.
It’s too bad that the Concerned Women of America choose to go whole hog on the partisan approach, though. Here’s a sampling of J. Matt Barber’s assessment:
- This is not your father’s documentary. Expelled rocks the house both literally and figuratively. It’s gripping, music-packed, comically wry and always entertaining. But its entertainment value is yet surpassed by its educational merit.
- Stein boldly shines a light of honest inquiry, revealing time and again that Evolution’s Emperor has no clothes. In his trademark deadpan fashion, he skillfully debunks the dogmatic neo-Darwinist programming we’ve all had relentlessly rammed down our throats ever since “Big Science” went bananas over that cute little Scopes Monkey.
- Unlike Michael Moore’s anti-Bush propaganda flick, Fahrenheit 911 — which sold us a lemon with deceptive editing techniques and staged confrontations — Expelled is intellectually honest, cerebrally stimulating and delectably provocative.
- Through tears of wild laughter, audience members watch as Dawkins — apparently grasping the dizzying nature of his own circular argument — turns three shades of red and becomes purply tight-lipped.
- As the movie masterfully illustrates, we live in a cultural climate where secular elitists in academia, the media and the courts chew up and spit out anyone who dares to question the gospel according to Charles Darwin. They’re absolutely terrified to follow the scientific evidence wherever it may lead.
- It’s no wonder that Expelled has Darwin’s disciples scurrying for the shadows. Those secular humanist one-trick-ponies in the media, throughout academia, on the blogosphere and elsewhere are in full damage control. They’re doing everything possible to discredit the film before it even opens. It’s even been reported that two major networks are refusing to cover the movie. (Gotta love that journalistic objectivity.)
- So, if you happen to be one of those evolutionary fundamentalists who were “randomly selected” to evolve with a built-in blindfold and earplugs, and you’re comfy with your very limited worldview, be afraid of this film — be very afraid. However, if you’re willing to have your eyes opened and are interested in looking at all the evidence, then suck it up, wipe away that Darwinian Kool-Aid mustache and hang out with Ben Stein for a night.
- Expelled is a must see. If you’re already a person of faith, prepare to have your faith strengthened.
- So hold on to your hat. Expelled is nothing short of earthshaking.
Good thing Barber drew our attention to journalistic objectivity. Whew!
All of that, really, is just frothy hyperbole, though. It’s clearly subjective, biased opinion, and it’s hard to imagine anyone reading it as anything but.
However, Barber is just flat wrong in asserting that “the general consensus among the evolutionary scientists interviewed was that all life, including human life, likely began when lightening struck a mud puddle.” That’s actually an idea put forward by a grade-school educational film on the origins of life. The “evolutionary scientists interviewed” were quite straightforward about admitting that there is no accepted theory for how life actually began, and that evolution only purports to account for subsequent changes.
So, speaking of “Kool-Aid,” I’d really advise readers not to swallow hyperbole like Barber’s. Find more trustworthy and objective sources for your entertainment news.
UPDATE: How could I forget? We also have a review in from Answers in Genesis. It’s obviously slanted in the Creationist direction, but is remarkably restrained and free of mischaracterizations. Ham’s summary [ed: oops! that’s “Looy’s” summary; Ham authored the sidebar]:
The film is not about trying to push ID on society, much less argue that ID should be mandated in schools (which AiG would not support). Also, the film makes it clear that the ID movement is not a Christian one (although many evangelicals are part of it). More than anything, the documentary seeks to expose the ruthlessness of radical atheists and evolutionists.
I think I’d have to agree with that assessment, though I place little stock in AiG’s general approach to things. It’s nice to see Ham distinguish between “radical” and non-radical atheists and evolutionists.
AND THIS JUST IN: Josh McDowell’s latest newsletter also endorses Expelled, calling it “very well done. The solid evidence and strong arguments provide a good starting point for fruitful discussions. In addition, it tackles this critical issue in a religion neutral way.” He offers a pretty sane and succinct assessment (one which I wish I could link to somewhere, since I won’t be reprinting the whole thing), and is targeted at promoting his own “Redeeming Darwin material.”