Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
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108 of 165 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2008
Ben Stein should really be talking about no intelligence, the guy has the most warped and ignorant view of modern day science outside of the religious right.
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286 of 438 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2008
By trade, I am a biologist. I teach biology and invest strongly in science. "Science" comes from the Greek word for "knowledge." Those who shun science shun knowledge. Evolution is as strong a science as gravity and thermodynamics. If someone attempted to teach my children that gravity was explained by God tethering us with invisible strings, I would attempt to have them fired or, better yet, sent to the loony bin. Likewise, when people attempt to claim that we did not evolve over 3 billion years from a single celled organism, they should suffer the same fate (fired, committed, etc.). The facts are the facts, and should not be skewed by the ignorant.

So biology is my trade. But by faith, I'm a devout Christian. I speak to and have a personal relationship with God. He is omnipresent in my life. I abide strongly by the Ten Commandments - one of the most salient being "thou shall not bear false witness." We have come to accept this to mean, colloquially, "you should not lie." You should not lie to your significant other about where you have been. You should not lie to your friend about your feelings. You should not lie to your fellow humans regarding the intricate process of evolution that has crafted intelligent, dextrous humans who possess immense capability as a species.

My biological training progressed almost simultaneously with my theological training. But as I learned each, they only served to bolster each other. Learning about the richness of life that occurs here on our planet made me understand the infinite beauty of our Creator.

I must say that I did have one conflict (luckily just one) with the simultaneous understanding of science and God. When I finally "got" evolution, I realized, as many creationists have, that this scientific fact is incompatible with the teachings of the Bible. I went to Church and prayed for the answer, hoping I did not have to shun one of my devout endeavours to pursue the other. I heard the voice of God reverberate through my very soul. He said, "What are you, retarded? The Bible isn't a scientific text. For questions of sciece, refer to the scientists, who have discovered the rules of my Earth through the ingenious scientific method. For instance, if you want to understand how you came to be as a species, read On the Origin of Species: By Means of Natural Selection (Thrift Edition). It's sublime! I wrote one book and that is all; I had to dumb it down for the early humans just to get you going as an intelligent species. Just as I planned, you evolved intelligently enough to produce science and technology. The Bible was only meant for the early, ignorant humans. Now that you've launched from your Biblical selves into an autonomous species, you can safely rely on the writings of scientists to get your answers. " Well that settled that.

Anyway, this movie perpetuates the ignorant belief that evolution is a flimsy theory and, because of that, "alternatives" should be taught. But, in reality, it is the mental capacity of the film creators that is flimsy. Just because you "don't get" something doesn't mean it is wrong; it simply means you need to go back to school or even just pick up a book.
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202 of 309 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2008
This is the biggest piece of creationist drivel ever. Don't waste a cent, penny or yen on this poorly researched, bogus 'documentary'. Search Amazon for Richard Dawkins. Michael Shermer, Daniel Dennett or Sam Harris instead.
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294 of 450 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2008
Yes, I watched the movie (I sat for an interminable period of time in stunned silence at my parents' house).

Not only is it ignorant of even the most basic, fundamental tenets of modern evolutionary thought, it's ugly conflation of anti-semitism and evolution should sicken rational, even vaguely intelligent viewers.

Riefenstahl & Goebbels would have been proud to see their techniques used so blatantly in today's "enlightened" era.
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322 of 493 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2008
Summary: Ben Stein doesn't understand how evolution works, so it must not be true. Also evolution is the root of anti-Semitism and Nazism! And anything we don't understand completely yet, it must be God! God is in the gaps!

This movie is only for people who don't know anything about evolution, know it's wrong because they think their holy book say so, and know that nothing could ever change their minds.
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33 of 51 people found the following review helpful
If there was one person to make a case for Intelligent Design, Ben Stein would be the one to do it. Starting out with the premise that "Freedom is the essence of America," Stein's documentary `Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed' proposes that proponents of Intelligent Design have been ostracized, demonized, and left out of the scientific discussion about the origins in life. Citing professors and scientists, Stein narrates his debate, making no doubt he sides with freedom of expression and at least sympathizes with the believers of Intelligent Design.

Of course 'Expelled...' is destined to be controversial. What is so concretely admirable is how Stein gives time to both sides to state their cases so eloquently, so viewers can understand both sides. Cogent talk from Robert J. Mark II, a professor who had his web site taken down to Richard Dawkins, best-selling author of 'The God Delusion,' Stein keeps it fascinating even if it's tilted in a certain direction.

The other laudable facet of the film is how Stein is able to define "Intelligent Design" and make it clear and understandable. Using a plethora of experts, the DVD is informative for at least conveying what Intelligent Design actually is and what it states. Noting that Darwin's theory of evolution is merely that, he is able to use fascinating scientific evidence that demonstrate holes in some of his conclusions. One of the most prevalent defenses of Intelligent Design is that nature is so "intricate" and has so many remarkable patterns, it can't be duplicated and couldn't have come from nowhere on its own. The origin of life has yet to be explained, and the whole idea of life springing from a "primordial soup" is yet to be proven.

But the main lamentation is regarding freedom or inquiry or thought. Ben Stein primarily demonstrates how Intelligent Design scientists are left out for being "religion dressed up as science". Stein makes the case that a whole sector of the scientific community is being left out of the scientific process. It's the whole God/ and or religion vs. science debate, and for many people it's either or. His second case is showing how, in certain ways, evolution has been devastatingly influential since `Origin of the Species' inception. Eugenics is cited as a horrible hybrid of evolution. After all, if man is just considered another animal, what follows can be pretty inhumane.

The multi-talented Ben Stein gives the right touch to his topic. Using "Love Is in the Air" during narration in one scene, he adds nice touches to lighten things up. As an established figure on Comedy Central, Stein uses all the wit and intelligence in his arsenal to make a cogent case for freedom of thought and expression.

Personal reflection: I thought it would be helpful to 'fess up and state my own personal biases. I happen to believe in both intelligent design and evolution. One thing the movie doesn't address is that the Bible was written well before man entered a scientific-centered culture. Genesis, which is frequently the center-piece of the debate, I believe is 100% true, but not meant to be viewed as a science journal. It's a book of truth about the meaning of creation. Yet, it's meaning to me is infinitely more useful than all the scientific journals put together. Awe of creation are indicators to the nature of the Almighty as seen by the awe by the state of innocence of pre-fallen man. The seven day construct is perhaps man's consciousness and his relationship to God for whom he has been made in His image. Many scientists see an either or relationship because they take a literal, scientific interpretation of Genesis and reject it as "unscientific". Evolution, on the other hand, tells us about the how of creation. To paraphrase movie critic, Roger Ebert, there's too much evidence on earth of evolution and the eons which brought us its splendor.

Whether you agree with one side or both, 'Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed' is worth a look.

A J.P.'s Pick 4*'s =Very Good
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133 of 204 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2008
... by displaying it in a Critical Thinking course and challenging students to spot the logical fallacies. This film has almost all of them.

At no time in its meandering, rambling diatribe does it even approach anything resembling a single, coherent, logical point. It resorts to insults to evolution and evolutionists and appeals to emotion in defense of intelligent design. It fails to present any actual evidence in favor of intelligent design, or any evidence against evolution. Its anecdotal stories of ID proponents being persecuted are wildly altered, and you can do a Google search of "Expelled Exposed" to learn the truth behind these issues.

As Christopher Hitchens says in the film, "The only intelligent thing about Intelligent Design is that they managed to sneak that word in there."
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371 of 569 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2008
Pure and utter propoganda. Not once during the entire content of this movie is there any mention of evidence to support the 'Intelligent Design' hypothesis. The whole film is dedicated to exposing perceived prejudice against those that wish to espouse ID as an alternative to the Theory of Evolution and yet no-one seems able to explain what the strengths of ID are. Ben Stein's attempt to link the Holocaust to Darwin is simply shameful, the disingenousness of producers whilst interviewing participants has been widely reported across the internet and everyone but the most religiously biased individuals understand that Intelligent Design is nothing more than a long line of efforts to promote Biblical creationism.

In short, this movie does exactly the opposite of what it intended. It merely exposes Intelligent Design advocates as the fundamentalist nutcases that they really are. Ben Stein should hang his head in shame.
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95 of 146 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2008
The makers of this movie have one simple goal in mind, to completely convince you that there is a conspiracy in academia to put down ID. But, what exactly is ID? Nothing more than Creationism with a new name. This has been proven in the Supreme Court years ago.

ID is not a science, ID is pseudo science. It explains nothing and explicitely acknowledges a theistic "designer" as truth backed by no emperical evidence. All science must work with actual emperical evidence, not anecdotal evidence.

The most ignorant thing of all is to suppose that not only is the scientific community abandoning the entire philosophy of logic and reason, but that they are actively trying to push out people with supposed alternate theories. The fact (yes fact) is that these theories have no merit. That is why they are dismissed in the first place. They propose nothing provable and are based entirely on faith (Christianity in particular).

Feel free to practice your religion and your beliefs, but keep it to yourself only. This country was not founded on any religious morals (Treaty of Tripoli section 11) and we have a seperation of church and state. Keep your bible out of my government.
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16 of 25 people found the following review helpful
I saw the movie and enjoyed it. Everyone that is for free speech and reasoned discourse should see the movie -- irrespective of where you stand on Intelligent Design.

Don't buy into the hysteria generated by those that unjustly equate Intelligent Design with Creationism (through either malice or ignorance). Intelligent Design and Creationism have nothing to do with one another. Intelligent Design is a research program that seeks to use math, science, and reason to reliably detect design within biological lifeforms and structures. It makes a design inference but makes no attempt to identify the designer. Much as a forensic scientist determines whether cause of death is natural or designed but leaves the identity of the murderer to those better suited for the task, Intelligent Design simply seeks to detect design within biology. The implications of that inference are interesting but not, strictly speaking, within the scope of Intelligent Design.

The point of the movie is simple: there is very little freedom within academia to dissent from the party line (Darwinism) in regards to the origin and development of life. Careers, tenure, reputation, etc. are at risk if any aspect of the materialistic, naturalistic, random-chance-only explanation is questioned by those in academia. The movie does a good job of making that point. It also does a good job of explaining why it matters. The best example was the clear evidence presented that shows that Darwinism and the concept of "survival of the fittest" was in part used to justify the horrors of Nazi Germany (not to mention the eugenics movements that swept across Europe and America in the early part of the 20th century). The movie clearly (and fairly) states that support for Darwinism does not guarantee something as obscene as Nazi Germany. However, there is no doubt that Darwin's ideas *were* used to, in part, justify what became shameful, horrific behavior. For that reason, this movie is not only worth watching, it's important -- important because it clearly shows why no idea should be exempt from reasoned dissent.

Having followed the Intelligent Design movement closely for years, I believe it is well-reasoned but still developing as a theory. As the leaders in the Intelligent Design movement have clearly stated, it's not time to teach Intelligent Design as an accepted theory. However, the controversy and the concepts can (and should be) open for discussion. This movie shows that simply isn't being allowed.
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