Reviewed by: Rev. Bryan Griem
Do real scientists believe in Creation? Answer
Why do so many scientists endorse Evolution? Answer
How is it possible for reasonable, intelligent, well-educated people to hold such diametrically opposite views as Evolutionism and Creationism? Answer
How can we know there’s a God? Answer
What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer
If God made everything, who made God? Answer
What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer
Are we alone in the universe? Answer
Questions and Answers about The Origin of Life Answer
What do you do when your teacher is an evolutionist? Answer
Religious expression—What is legally permissible for students in America's public schools? Answer
Is the religion of Secular Humanism being taught in public school classrooms? Answer
Ben Stein, Jason Collett
The British Museum of Natural History, The Jewish Center of the Hamptons, Peter Atkins, Hector Avalos, Doug Axe, David Berlinski, Walter Bradley, Bruce Chapman, Caroline Crocker, Richard Dawkins, William Dembski, Daniel Dennett, Michael Egnor, Steve Fuller, Uta George, Marciej Giertych, Guillermo Gonzalez, John Hauptman, Christopher Hitchens, Ben Kelley, John Lennox, Robert J. Marks II, Alister E. McGrath, Stephen C. Meyer, Paul “PZ” Myers, Paul Nelson, William Provine, Michael Ruse, Congressman Mark Souder, Eugenie C. Scott, Gerald Schroeder, Michael Shermer, Richard Sternberg, Jeffrey Schwartz, Daniel Walsch, Richard Weikart, Jonathan Wells, Larry Witham, Pamela Winnick
|Producer:||Logan Craft, Walt Ruloff, John Sullivan, Mark Mathis|
|Distributor:||Rocky Mountain Pictures|
“Big science is kicking smart new ideas out of of school… What they forgot is that every generation has its Rebel! Ben Stein blows the horn on suppression.”
Touché! “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” has made Ben Stein the new hero of believers in God everywhere, and has landed a smart right cross to the protruding jaw of evolution’s elite. Stein is known for his dry, Droopy Dog demeanor, and for his diverse public career which included playing a memorable roll in the comedy movie, “Ferris Bueller's Day Off,” on the one end, and the important task of presidential speech writer, on the other. Here he serves as the documentary’s globetrotting reporter.
Humorous film clips punctuate the movie, making what many might think a dry academic topic for theater-going into a smart romp and most enjoyable experience. Audiences are applauding as credits roll, and people are leaving theaters empowered as they perceive a mighty chink has now been made in the armor surrounding our culture’s impenetrable, atheistic, Darwinian monopoly.
There is little doubt that evolutionary belief and atheism go had in hand, as one after another of its intellectual proponents admit this to Stein. When Darwinism is embraced, atheism is sure to follow as death follows decapitation, and this fact appears born out as the elite interviewees confess the sequence in their own lives and careers.
One Cornell University professor in the movie positively conceded that the end result of accepting evolution was, for him, the realization that there is no free will and no after-life. This seems a peculiar and irrationally happy reaction to the prospect, and thinking people everywhere would find this a rather undesirable state of affairs, if true. So much is at stake, and the conclusion of the godless mindset is neither certain nor very scientific.
In addition, Stein notes that “evolution’s top apologists have switched from defending Darwinism to attacking religion,” and this is really the thing upon which the movie most concentrates. Is the United States a freedom loving, free-thinking, intellectually inquisitive nation of cordial academic pursuit, or is it a politically correct, closed-minded arena of thought controlling, in-crowd Neanderthals? The latter seems to be the conclusion of internationals, and the audience will draw the same conclusion as professors and educators present their tales of discrimination, blacklisting, and defamation at the hands of the American evolutionary juggernaut and its related tentacles.
The evidence is clear that a glass ceiling exists for scientific professionals who would dare countenance the notion of God as an explanation for what they readily observe in their various disciplines, and one notable scientist (who actually discovered a planet) immediately lost tenure for merely suggesting other than the Darwinian status quo.
A clip or two of Nazi atrocities are shown in brief, which are never easy to look at, but which are included as evidence of the outcome of evolutionary embrace. Stein comes from a Jewish background and traveled to Germany to examine some of the aftermath of Darwin’s philosophy. There he found the various crematoriums used in World War II built to destroy the less “evolved” of the human species as well as those “less fit to survive.”
The Berlin wall is also included as something of an illustration for what our own culture is doing with regard to scientific dissent. The East Germans walled out the western ideas that might get across and upset its prevailing communistic philosophies, and so our own culture has erected non-material walls against one informed dissenting hypothesis, namely, Intelligent Design (ID).
ID is not creationism, although the two are related. The former seeks truth though scientific investigation and concludes an intelligent designer behind the vast information and mathematical intricacies so evident in observed “creation.” Creationism starts with the intelligent Designer and argues for evidence to support the premise. For Christians, God created the universe, and He did it according to what he has revealed to us in the Bible. Good Christians disagree as to whether the Genesis account is to be understood in terms of literal days or day-ages, but most would contend that evolution is nowhere to be found in the process.
The religious contribution ID makes is that it validates a transcendent designer—which everyone naturally refers to as “God.” What ID doesn’t do is tell us which God, and it’s up to us Christians to provide an intelligent witness and reasonable evidence for the God of Intelligent Design being the same God of inspired Scripture, the one incarnated as Jesus Christ.
What makes the movie worth every penny spent on popcorn and admission, are the blatant “missing links” found in the conclusions of all the evolution proponents throughout. Stein would humbly ask for explanations, looking for inconvertible answers, yet was left amazed at what the responses all boiled down to. What got the evolutionary process going to begin with? Perhaps inanimate crystals just gave way to biological organisms, was one answer. What of the observed natural complexities in organisms that seemingly would require some sort of intelligent agency for existence? This was a good one. Richard Dawkins, the infamous atheist, evolutionary biologist and author of The God Delusion—a man who hates the very notion of God and says every imaginably awful thing regarding Him—in the film, conceded that if the design had an agent it would be that of some extra terrestrial. To hear that he would punt to Martians or little green men rather than God, brought to mind Romans 1:22-23,
“Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God…” (NIV).
All he did was leave the design question on another planet, rather than provide the solution.
ID is not a dead issue, because even those who oppose it cannot figure out how design in the universe got there, and despite whatever accusations they want to make against Christians and their faith, evolutionists also have faith, and it is blind. Blind, because they will not turn aside to what can readily be observed and consider its more obvious consequence.
There is one minor expletive uttered, closely synonymous with “Hades,” but other than that there is little else to warn anyone about. Perhaps the old-time stock footage showing a man with a cigarette will offend some, but this is about as objectionable as it gets.
I can say whole-heartedly that I recommend this film for Christians everywhere. See it, and show it to your non-Christian friends. I think you will enjoy the movie and glean some rich material for discussion afterward. My only regret is that “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” is limited in its release. Maybe with mass patronage, it will spread to wider exhibition. Let’s hope it does, because the emperor has no clothes, and this exposé makes it obvious. Also, pray for our science community, because…
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see…” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NIV).
There is a nation today in which scientists are being silenced and ousted, in which teachers and professors teach a theory as indisputable fact. No, this isn’t a Third World dictatorship, it’s America, as recorded in Ben Stein’s controversial, satirical and entertaining documentary “EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed.”
Stein, the well-known television personality, actor and former White House presidential speechwriter, takes a journey across America and to Europe to explore the debate between proponents of intelligent design and Darwinian evolution. What he discovers is an elitist scientific establishment that has traded in its skepticism for dogma.
Even worse, Stein uncovers a long line of scientists and philosophers who have had their reputations destroyed and their careers ruined by a scientific establishment that allows absolutely no dissent from Charles Darwin’s theory of random mutation and natural selection. What freedom-loving American wouldn’t be outraged? Says Stein, who is also a lawyer, economist, author and social commentator,
“Big Science in this area has lost its way. Scientists are supposed to be allowed to follow the evidence wherever it may lead, no matter what the implications are. Freedom of inquiry has been greatly compromised, and this is not only anti-science, it’s anti-American.”
Hosted and co-written by Stein, “EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed” is a Premise Media Corporation presentation of a Rampant Films Production. It is directed by Nathan Frankowski, co-written by Kevin Miller and produced by Logan Craft, Walt Ruloff and John Sullivan. The associate producer is Mark Mathis. “EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed” is being marketed by Motive Entertainment, which has spearheaded the grassroots marketing for blockbusters like “The Passion of the Christ,” “Polar Express” and “The Chronicles of Narnia,” and is being distributed by Rocky Mountain Pictures. The film is rated PG.
“EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed” uncovers that educators and scientists are being ridiculed, denied tenure and even fired in some cases for believing there is evidence of intelligent design in nature, challenging the idea that life is the result of random chance. What is intelligent design? It is a theory that attempts to empirically detect if the apparent design in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design or the product of an intelligent cause. Darwinists, on the other hand, believe that all the myriad forms of life are the product of an undirected process: natural selection of the fittest acting on random mutations within organisms.
This documentary rejects the notion that the case is closed in favor of Darwinism and exposes the widespread persecution of scientists and educators who are pursuing legitimate, opposing scientific views to the reigning orthodoxy. At stake are two very consequential views of existence: Is life intelligently designed and purposeful? Or is it random and purposeless?
Despite the seriousness of its topic, this is no boring academic thesis but a lively, entertaining and often humorous film that goes far beyond the static talking-heads format one might expect. Director Nathan Frankowski said,
“We didn’t want to take ourselves too seriously. But at the same time when we needed to be serious, we were.”
The creators of “EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed” crossed the globe over a two-year period interviewing scores of scientists, doctors, philosophers and public leaders on both sides of the divide. Among them is Richard Sternberg, a double Ph.D. biologist who allowed a peer-reviewed research paper describing the evidence for intelligence in the universe to be published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington.
Not long after publication, officials from the Smithsonian Institution, where Sternberg was a research fellow, and the National Center for Science Education began a coordinated smear and intimidation campaign to get the promising young scientist expelled from his position. The NCSE is, according to its Web site, a “nationally recognized clearinghouse for information and advice to keep evolution in the science classroom and ‘scientific creationism’ out.”
This attack on scientific freedom was so egregious that it prompted a Congressional investigation and report entitled Intolerance and the Politicization of Science at the Smithsonian, spearheaded by Rep. Mark Souder, Republican from Indiana, who was also interviewed for the film. The Smithsonian failed to respond to repeated requests for an interview and ejected the “EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed” crew from its buildings and front steps when they showed up to pursue the issue.
Stein also interviewed other scientists such as astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez, who was denied tenure at Iowa State University in spite of his extraordinary record of achievement. Gonzalez made the mistake of documenting the design he had observed in the universe.
There are others, such as Caroline Crocker, a brilliant biology teacher at George Mason University who was forced out of the university for briefly discussing problems with Darwinian theory and for telling the students that some scientists believe there is evidence of design in the universe. The list goes on and on, including some who agreed to be interviewed only if they could remain anonymous and be filmed in silhouette for fear of being stigmatized by their colleagues.
Unlike some other documentary films, “EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed” doesn’t just talk to people representing one side of the story. The film interviews scientists such as Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion; P.Z. Myers, influential biologist and atheist blogger; and Eugenie Scott, head of the National Center for Science Education. Others interviewed include Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, who says the only thing intelligent in intelligent design is its name, and Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, who is, not surprisingly, skeptical that scientists are in fact being persecuted for not strictly hewing to the Darwinian line.
(Some interviewees who could not be included “EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed” for reasons of space will be included in the DVD release.)
Walt Ruloff, co-founder of Premise Media and one of the film’s producers explains:
“In ‘EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed,’ we don’t resort to manipulating our interviews for the purpose of achieving the shock effect, something that has become common in documentary film these days. People will be stunned to actually find out what elitist scientists proclaim, which is that a large majority of Americans are simpletons who believe in a fairy tale. Premise Media took on this difficult mission because we believe the greatest asset of humanity is our freedom to explore and discover truth.”
“EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed” began with an observation made by Ruloff, a successful computer software entrepreneur who comes from a high-tech world in which innovation is constant and eagerly sought. In stark contrast, he noticed, the scientific and academic communities were deeply resistant to innovation, in this case innovation that might revise Darwin’s theory that random mutation and natural selection drive all variation in life forms. To explore this phenomenon, he joined with Logan Craft, a businessman, producer and social commentator with a media background, and John Sullivan, a successful music and commercial producer, to produce “EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed.” Craft became interested in the project because…
“I knew that this issue of evolution was foundational, it was the backdrop to a lot of other discussions that revolved around who we are as people, what our identity is, where do we draw an understanding of who were are and what our value and significance are. These questions are answered very differently by secularists and people who hold religious beliefs.”
Sullivan, who had a long-term philosophical interest in evolution, also saw the documentary’s commercial appeal.
“When we started, we didn’t know which way the film was going to go because it’s unscripted, but we did know that this was an issue that the faith-based community was always engaged in. We’re hoping that it takes root in that community, which is a very large market, but it doesn’t just relate to the faith-based markets. We also have seen good response from the college age group and across the board.”
Having determined to make the documentary, the producers went looking for someone to carry the film as its host and guide…
“someone who was smart and funny with high credibility and who was willing to go on a journey,” Craft said.
They arranged a meeting with Ben Stein and “within the first few minutes of meeting Ben, he said, ‘Sign me up, where do we go?’”
Stein proved to be incisive, humorous and as demanding an interviewer of intelligent design proponents as he was of evolutionists. Director Frankowski said,
“He wasn’t going to take the intelligent design side just because this is what the movie is about. Even when he interviewed ID guys he was kind of hostile to them. He wanted to put the heat on them and see if they could come out of the fire.”
When Frankowski came aboard the production, he admitted that he was a little worried at first.
“I didn’t know what kind of movie they wanted me to make. I told John (Sullivan) that I didn’t want to make a right-wing propaganda piece or an agenda piece. I wanted to honestly explore the issue and be open to whatever we found, and he assured me that he was open to that.
Ultimately this film is about freedom. I don’t want it to be about one side or the other. It’s not about right or wrong, but it’s about the freedom to pursue a line of thought.”
Echoing that though, Craft said:
“The film is about the issue of freedom of inquiry and freedom of speech in the United States and in the worldwide scientific and educational communities. And the film takes on that issue through the lens the controversy of evolution.”
Filming began in the summer of 2006 when the “EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed” crew traveled to Oxford, England to interview Richard Dawkins, author, Oxford University professor and prominent atheist, and John Lennox, a mathematician and author who lectures on science and religion at Oxford. It was the first stop on a two-year journey that would take the filmmakers all over the United States and Europe. Among its U.S. locations were Washington, D.C., California, Texas, Florida, Iowa, Virginia, Washington and New York.
In Europe, “EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed” traveled to Berlin; London; Paris; Venice; Oxford; Kent, where Charles Darwin had his home and wrote On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection; Dachau, the infamous Nazi concentration camp in Germany; and Hadamar, also in Germany, where the Nazis pursued the now-discredited theory of social Darwinism through a eugenics program that exterminated physically and mentally disabled people.
One of the central motifs of the film is the Berlin Wall, which was built in 1961 by the East German Communist government to keep its citizens from escaping to the West and to limit the infiltration of ideas from West into East Germany. For the filmmakers, the wall is a metaphor for the barrier that the scientific community has erected to lock out any new, non-Darwinian ideas concerning evolution and intelligent design.
The film’s credits are incorporated into archival footage of the Berlin Wall’s construction, and Stein interviews mathematician, philosopher and intelligent design proponent David Berlinski in front of a remnant of the barrier, which was torn down in 1989. The film ends by pairing President Ronald Reagan’s speech in Berlin in 1987, in which he famously said: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” with Ben Stein’s call for the scientific and educational communities to tear down the walls of orthodoxy that prevent a balanced exploration of the origins of life.
Director Frankowski wanted this film to have a unique visual energy that other documentaries don’t have. One challenge, he said, was that most of his subjects are scientists who lack the on-screen vibrancy that a movie star would have. “What they’re saying is really interesting,” Frankowski said, “but how do we bring that energy to the screen? So I wanted to use the camera to bring out the energy” that the interviewees didn’t necessarily display on their own.
One way to accomplish this was his use of multiple high-definition cameras to shoot interviews.
“I wanted to have multiple cameras to pick up different moments and angles. We had a lot of tight shots on people’s faces to really feel the emotion. At the same time we could focus on other things—what their hands were doing, were they twitching, for example.”
He also shot through doorways, books on a library shelf and other framing devices “so you have a sense that you’re spying, that you’re not supposed to be hearing these kinds of things. And it worked.”
In addition, cameraman Ben Huddleston created a piece of equipment called the High Roller that added motion to the image. A variation on the dolly, it mounted a camera on what looked like a mini-skateboard running along small four-foot rails that sat on top of the camera tripod. “It enabled us to give a little motion to the interviews, to keep things fluid and intense,” Frankowski said.
The quest for movement and energy continued in the post-production phase as well, when Frankowski and Editor Simon Tondeur created montages and incorporated archival images from B&W ’50s educational films to humorous effect.
A high point in the production for Frankowski came near the end of filming, in the beautiful cathedral-like space of the Natural History Museum in London, home to the Darwin Center and repository of specimens collected by Darwin himself. Associate producer Mark Mathis was able to have the museum closed to visitors during the filming. It was here that Stein was filmed walking somberly through the exhibition halls reflecting on the journey that he had taken. The very next day the museum was the site of the climactic meeting of minds between Stein and Richard Dawkins. Frankowski said,
“Throughout the production we were waiting for these two sides to collide. Our two power players were coming together, and it was a great interview. There was respect on both sides.”
Ben Stein has had what may be the most diverse career of any public personality now working, to which he is adding up to the present day. To start with, he is a New York Times columnist on economics and business, a regular commentator on CBS Sunday Morning and a very frequent commentator on Fox News and CNN. He was for 860 episodes the Emmy-winning host of the multi-Emmy Award–winning (eight, since it first aired in 1997) game show, Win Ben Stein’s Money, on Comedy Central, as well as the Comedy Central talk show, “Turn Ben Stein On.”
Stein is a native of Washington, D.C., and grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he attended school with future notables Sylvester Stallone, Carl Bernstein, Goldie Hawn, and Connie Chung. Stein’s father was the well-known economist and public policy commentator and wit, Herbert Stein.
Stein is a graduate of Columbia University’s undergraduate college, where he earned a B.A. in 1966, with honors in economics. In those years, he was active in the civil rights movement, working in many locales to enfranchise African-Americans as voters and to secure equal rights for them under law. After college, he worked for a year as an economist with the Department of Commerce, and then graduated from Yale Law School in 1970 as valedictorian of his class (by election of his classmates). He has served as a poverty lawyer; a trial lawyer in false and deceptive advertising cases; and as a teacher educating students about the political and social content of film and TV at American University in Washington, D.C., the University of California at Santa Cruz, and at Pepperdine Law School, where he also taught securities law for five years.
In 1973, Stein became a speechwriter for Richard Nixon at the White House and then continued that work for Gerald Ford when he became President. Stein became a columnist for the Wall Street Journal in 1974. In 1976, he moved to Hollywood where he became a screenwriter, TV writer, novelist, and syndicated columnist. He worked for Norman Lear’s Tandem/TAT production company, where he helped to create the cult hit “Fernwood 2Night.” He is the author of 23 books, including the acclaimed diary of his first year in Hollywood, DREEMZ, the analysis of the political attitudes of Hollywood; The View from Sunset Boulevard, the tale of drug addiction and ambition in Los Angeles; and ’Ludes, on which the movie “The Boost” was based. He has also written extensively about personal and financial self-help issues in the classic, Bunkhouse Logic; and a guide to economic success over a lifetime, Financial Passages. Most recently, Stein has authored a book about the trials and triumphs of being a father of a young son. The book is called Tommy and Me.
He is also the author of the humorous best sellers, How To Ruin Your Life, How to Ruin Your Love Life and How to Ruin Your Financial Life. These humorous self-help books are already cult classics.
Stein is the writer of the outline for the ABC miniseries “Amerika,” and is also the author of the outline and the producer of the esteemed television movie “Murder in Mississippi,” about the martyred civil rights workers Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner. Stein has also written extensively about financial fraud and ethical duties in finance—mostly for Barron’s, but also in a book about the Milken/Drexel fraud, A License to Steal; for a financial Web site called TheStreet.com; for New York magazine; and for the New York Times Magazine, among other publications.
In 1986, Stein became an “actor,” when he played a teacher with a monotonous tone of voice in the classic comedy hit “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” He was a recurring character, also playing a teacher, in “The Wonder Years” for three years, and has appeared in about 30 movies and TV series. He is a frequent speaker to university and business groups, where he combines his comedic abilities with his political and economic insights and blends them into an appeal for a rebirth of devotion to those closest to us.
Stein lives in Beverly Hills, California, with his wife, Alexandra; his son, Thomas; and many dogs and cats. He is very active in fund-raising for animal rights and children’s rights charities in Los Angeles and throughout the country.
John Sullivan—Mr. Sullivan’s introduction to the entertainment industry came through the live music industry where he provided marketing and logistic leadership for over 125 headline concerts generating over $100 mm in revenue. In 1996, he produced one of the first live internet concert experience with the Vans’ Warped Tour, which was featured on MTV. This experience led him to shift focus to visual media creating multiple award winning short films and corporate communications media. He and his wife live outside Los Angeles with their twin daughters.
Walt J. Ruloff—Mr. Ruloff is the CEO of Premise Media Corporation. Mr. Ruloff served as the founding CEO of Intertrans Logistics Solutions Ltd. (ITLS.) Under his leadership the software company grew from 10 developers and managers to 400 employees within 7 years. The company’s logistics applications are the worldwide defacto standard for Fortune 200 companies. In 1998, Mr. sold the company, and went on to establish a non-profit foundation and family portfolio before focusing his creative skills in creating Premise Media. He and his wife have four boys.
Mark Mathis—Prior to entering documentary film, Mark spent more than two decades working in other high-profile media careers. After excelling as an award-winning TV-news reporter and anchor for nearly ten years, Mark formed his own consulting and training firm, Mathis Media, LLC. In 2002 Mark published the highly acclaimed Feeding the Media Beast: An Easy Recipe for Great Publicity (Purdue University Press), now in its fourth U.S. printing and published in India, Russia and China. Mark has provided consulting and training services to such varied and distinguished organizations as The National Football League, Victoria’s Secret Catalogue, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, America Online, Saudi Research and Marketing and many others. He has also appeared on the big screen, playing an ABC News Reporter in the 2007 release of “The Astronaut Farmer.”
A. Logan Craft—Mr. Craft is Chairman of the Board of Premise Media Corporation and an Executive Producer. He was in commodity-based businesses before moving into the field of venture capital and media, and is the creator, producer, and on-air host of a previously aired regional television program, “Church and State with Logan Craft: Exploring Religion and Politics.” The program featured a wide variety of prominent politicians, activists, and religious leaders. Mr. Craft also co-produced and co-hosted commercial outdoor television programs. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a business degree in Marketing; he also holds two Masters Degrees. Apart from his involvement in media, he is active in civic, charitable and religious activities.