Saturday, April 19, 2008


Pass in Review

Here are a bunch more reviews of Expelled:

Mark Olson in The Baltimore Sun:

Entertainer, pitchman and political commentator Ben Stein begins the film by intoning that there is a growing conspiracy within the academic and scientific communities blocking out proponents of "intelligent design" as a means to explain the origins of life and human development in favor of lock-step enforcement of Darwinist theories of evolution.

By setting the argument up in this way, one which is never fully pursued or proven, Stein has, of course, attempted to use a textbook tactic of Karl Rove to reframe the discussion, putting it in terms by which his side seems the valiant underdog, suppressed and belittled by their opponent, while turning notions of right-and-wrong, freedom of speech and even the meaning of science upside down. When in doubt, Stein falls back on vague claims regarding "freedom" and "dire consequences for every American." (Sound familiar?)
Carl Hoover in the Waco Tribune-Herald:

Those coming to Expelled hoping to learn something about any research behind ID, a fair appraisal of weaknesses in evolutionary theories or — perhaps the film's most glaring and telling omission — how Christian evolutionists reconcile faith and science will leave sorely disappointed. The latter is quickly dismissed by a chain of quotes that brand them as liberal Christians and duped by militant atheists in their efforts to get religion out of the classroom. ...

It's smoke, mirrors, a lot of heat and little light — although the hand of a creator is clearly in its design.
Ethan Gilsdorf in the Boston Globe:

[W]ith a ram-down-your throat style about as subtle as an excavator tearing through a natural history museum, "Expelled" routinely intercuts the interviews with non sequitur black-and-white clips from campy movies and newsreels - guillotines falling, armies at war, cowboy shoot-outs, concentration camp victims, the Berlin Wall - that would make pioneering film montagist Sergei Eisenstein cringe. John Lennon's song "Imagine" is used to evoke a godless wasteland. Darwinism is equated with Nazism. Through it all, anxiety-inducing background music imposes a false sense of drama.

These tactics are not only misleading, they're insulting and manipulative.
Chris Hewitt in The Pioneer Press:

[T]he movie spends too much time trying to justify so-called "intelligent design," the face creationism currently wears, and misrepresenting a variety of people and organizations, including Edward R. Murrow, Charles Darwin and Planned Parenthood.

It is fatuous, for instance, to denounce Darwin based on the way Adolf Hitler misinterpreted his work, juvenile to use animation to make science look as stupid as possible and dangerously misguided to suggest that Planned Parenthood is a hellish bastion of eugenics. Even more pointless is a lengthy sequence in which Stein tut-tuts as he tours a facility where Nazis once imprisoned and murdered the handicapped. Sure, the images are horrifying, but they have nothing to do with the film's subject.

Nice collection! At least one thing's for sure: both scientists and movie reviewers easily see the film for what it is. Now let's just hope there's enough folks in the general public who get it.
Have you seen the review from the Discovery Institute yet? Surprise, they loved it.

I've already taken the liberty of ripping it apart on my blog.
Heh. I saw your post, Brian, and linked to it in my most recent post (on Larry Arnhart's criticism of Expelled) before I saw your comment here.

You can't say Expelled isn't bringing people together! ;-)
just saw Expelled... Ben Stein's goal in making Expelled (i gather) is to promote free thought, especially more thinking about motivations that drive American academia and a lot of other behind-the-scenes worldview that we tend to take for granted.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

. . . . .


How to Support Science Education