The journey from there to here

I finally got a chance to see Ben Stein's controversial movie Expelled, last night. I've read a number of reviews on the film, and was eager to view it for myself.

Please note, my review is based on the movie itself, and not on a careful vetting of the accusations it presents. I do intend to spend some time looking into the assertions made by the movie, but have not as of yet done so.

The first thing that hit me was not covered in any movie reviews for or against the movie. The camera work on some of the outdoor scenes invoked a sense of vertigo I had not experienced since The Blair Witch Project. Perhaps the science of holding a steady camera should have been on their list, as we ARE discussing science here.

The movie brought out some interesting talking points for debate, most notably the fact that Intelligent Design deals with the origin of LIFE on the planet, and most evolution based theories have yet to come up with a reliable theory on the origin of life. Arguably, they have done so on the origin of SPECIES, but as for life itself, they're still as stuck in the hypothesis phase as the most diehard young Earth creationist.

It was interesting to see the questions posed to those who hold a hostile view towards the Intelligent Design argument. They were definitely crafted and spun, but the truth is, that's the way our "documentaries" and even our "news", is presented in this day and age. It is telling that some of the subjects of the film were so vehement in their protestations of Stein's spin, when they are so notoriously silent when others closer to their personal persuasion use the same tactics.

The movie Expelled is an excellent starting point for the debate on Intelligent Design and on the subject of academic freedom. But it should not be held as the be all and end all of debates any more than Michael Moore's latest diatribes on his pet subjects. If scientists truly are finding themselves "expelled" for their beliefs, then it is right and proper to question that expulsion, and Stein, who clearly believes this thesis, has done so in an entertaining and compelling manner.

At its worst, Expelled is an interesting discussion of the side that rarely finds itself presented. At its best, it is a frightening look at the direction of scientific thought in America. It is our individual responsibilities to decide which. I give it three and a half out of five stars.

Oh, and, Ben? In case you decide to do a sequel, please find a cameraman that isn't apparently afflicted with Tourette's.

on May 26, 2008
Funny you should bring this up. I have not seen the movie, but was listening to Glen Beck this morning (the best of) while doing my Paul Bunyon imitation. He was interviewing Ben Stein. And the point that he made (beyond your often noted point of PP and Eugenics) is that Evolution says nothing about the origin of life, and to dismiss any hypothesis at this point is extremely bigoted.

I agree. Some will laugh at me for holding out that Intelligent design is a viable hypothesis at this point. Yet right now, there is no theory on the origin on life, and just hypothesis's (sp). And hardly any way to test any of them.