Promotion is ramping up for Ben Stein’s slick propaganda piece, EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed, which supposedly was supposed to be in theaters beginning February 2008. (It was finally released in April, I think.)
Learn more about the issues and controversy surrounding EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed.
A remarkable interview with Stein appeared yesterday on the Cybercast News Service‘s CNS.COM. (I learned about the interview through this post on The Bad Idea Blog, which comments on a number of points in the interview.)
The movie’s official website is amazing, and well worth exploring. I especially recommend the links in the News Archive. One of the more fun bits is at the end of one of the trailers, where Stein reprises his “Anyone? … Anyone? … Anyone? …” from this memorable monologue/lecture in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:
Economics Teacher: In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the… Anyone? Anyone?… the Great Depression, passed the… Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered?… raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? The Laffer Curve. Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point. This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o economics. “Voodoo” economics.
This seems all the more ironic in light of the career of Ben Stein’s father, Herbert Stein, the Wall Street Journal editorial page ideologue who also served as Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers under Nixon and Ford — Presidents for whom Ben Stein himself served as speechwriter, before moving to Los Angeles for a career in entertainment.
Judging from the website, we can expect this movie to be an extraordinary example of the propaganda technique known as the Big Lie. The movie apparently hammers away at a few claims of monstrous misdeeds by the “neo-Darwinists,” with one fabricated example after another. Viewers are likely to think that there must be some truth in this since, otherwise, no one would claim such extreme misconduct to be going on, while offering so many examples.
The basic claim seems to be that “neo-Darwinists” are desperately trying to defend a theory (evolution) that is so hopelessly weak ad vulnerable that they will do anything and everything to keep people from hearing the dissenting views of growing legions of scientists who now question evolution (basically, the same story as in Godless by Ann Coulter).
The particular emphasis in this movie is its supposed defense of intellectual and academic freedom, and the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution. The utterly dishonest lie here is a claim that “neo-Darwinists” are militantly intolerant of anyone who believes in God, believes in divine creation, or even entertains thoughts about such possibilities — not just some Darwinists (like Dawkins), and not just people who criticize believers (like Hitchens) — but Darwinists in general, who are alleged to actively collude in doing everything they can to silence and eliminate (“EXPEL“) those who raise questions about evolutionary theory (in one of the trailers, Ben Stein warns that you could lose your job for even watching this movie).
The truth, of course, is that there are large numbers of working biologists who do believe in God and in divine creation, while at the same time believing evolutionary theory (see, for example, Finding Darwin’s God: a scientist’s search for common ground between God and evolution, by Kenneth R Miller, author of the Biology text challenged by creationsists in Dover and elsewhere, and the leading expert witness on the side of evolutionary biology in the Dover trial); and mountains of articles are published every year reporting research into questions and problems in evolutionary theory.