EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed (2008)
by Ben Stein
The Issue: The freedom to legitimately challenge “Big Science’s” orthodoxy…without persecution. The debate over evolution is confusing and to some, bewildering: “Wasn’t this all settled years ago?” The answer to that question is equally troubling: “Yes…and no.” The truth is that a staggering amount of new scientific evidence has emerged since Darwin’s 150-year-old theory of life’s origins. Darwin had no concept of DNA, microbiology, The Big Bang, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity or of the human genome. Each of these discoveries has, in one way or another, led a growing number of scientists to reconsider the simple view espoused by Darwin that life is a random, purposeless, chance occurrence. The universe, and life itself – is turning out to be far more complex and mysterious – than Darwin could possibly have imagined. Darwin’s theory isn’t a single idea. Instead, it is made up of several related ideas, each supported by specific arguments. Of the three, only Evolution #1 can be said to be scientifically “settled.”
* Evolution #1: First, evolution can mean minor changes in features of individual species – changes that take place gradually over a (relatively) modest period of time.
* Evolution #2: The Theory of Universal Common Descent - the idea that all the organisms we see today are descended from a single common ancestor somewhere in the distant past. This theory paints a picture of the history of life on earth as a great branching tree, from a single cell that “somehow” materialized.
* Evolution #3: A cause or mechanism of change, the biological process Darwin thought was responsible for this branching pattern. Darwin argued that natural selection had the power to produce fundamentally new forms of life. Together, the ideas of Universal Common Descent and natural selection form the core of Darwinian evolutionary theory. “Neo – Darwinian” evolution combines our knowledge of DNA and genetics to claim that mutations in DNA provide the variation upon which natural selection acts.
When you see the word “evolution.” You should ask yourself, “Which of the three definitions is being used?” Because arguments and evidence supporting #1 do not support #2 or #3!
What Is Intelligent Design?
The theory of intelligent design is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the “apparent design” in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations.
“Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” rejects the notion that “the case is closed,” and exposes the widespread persecution of scientists and educators who are pursuing legitimate, opposing scientific views to the reigning orthodoxy.
The American public’s awareness and beliefs vis-à-vis our government’s expanding role in defining the curriculum in America’s schools, universities and institutions of science. Neo-Darwinian theory contends that life is the result of a random, purposeless process. Neo – Darwinian theory is taught in schools as if it is the only plausible scientific explanation of how life originated and developed. Yet Intelligent Design theory has recently emerged to challenge neo-Darwinian theory.
Both are scientific theories, and the debate is therefore legitimate. Why is the debate being suppressed? At stake are two very consequential views of existence: Is life purposeful, and intelligently designed? Or is it random and purposeless?
Question #1: Knowing this - should our government be engaged in official, de facto promotion of the exclusively secular, materialist worldview inherent in neo-Darwinian theory in our nation’s public schools, universities and research institutions? Why?
Question #2: There is growing support among scientists that there is evidence of intelligent design operating in nature. Yet these scientists, researchers and educators are being routinely persecuted for their scientific views. Who is behind this persecution? Why is this happening in America? How did this situation develop?
Question #3: Should the enterprise of science somehow be treated differently from all other forms of human knowledge, and accorded a special privilege that exempts it from robust debate or inquiry, especially when such debate or inquiry may alter viewpoints that raise important questions concerning larger issues that extend beyond the limits of science itself?
“Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” presents a point-of-view so powerful, that it
literally forces a re-examination of these issues.
What’s At Stake
We all know that ideas have consequences. And our country was founded on principles of free and open debate. The differences between these two worldviews are certainly consequential. So…why the suppression of scientific debate?
If in our publicly funded schools, universities and institutions our children continue to be taught only this: that all life on earth is the result of a purposeless, meaningless and undirected process of random mutation and natural selection…
What are the consequences over time of teaching this one-sided worldview as if it were fact rather than theory?
* How will ideas of morality change, if life is thought to be purposeless and undirected?
* How will the role of Government change, if the individual is taught by The State that one is accountable only to ones self?
* How will the role of “science” change, if “Big Science” alone determines our worldview?
Such a change in our government’s official policy represents a deeply troubling shift in our cultural identity and a radical departure from the very principles upon which our country was built. America is the first Democracy that was founded on the distinctive worldview that “a Creator” conferred “inalienable rights” on human beings, rather than the State, or another institution, such as “Big Science.”
So…how was it decided that the teaching of such a profoundly different worldview should become the official position of the United States of America’s public institutions?
Who was behind the decision? And…why?
“Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” looks to scientists on both sides of the issue…and reveals some truly shocking answers.