And hilarity ensues! God, I never realized how much I hearted Roger Ebert until now.
Over at his blog with the Chicago Sun-Times, Ebert does a knee-slapping take-down of this film he originally refused to review. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is a semi-recent documentary about the horrible discrimination faced by scientists and professors in higher education who believe in Intelligent Design (which is Creationism where they don’t mention religion so that it seems value-neutral). It is narrated by Ben Stein. For real. It was produced through the company Premise Media. More on that below. BTW, Ben Stein originally wanted to call it “From Darwin to Hitler,” and played up how as a Jewish person, he is deeply wounded by the broad acceptance of evolution, because it is inextricably interwoven with Nazi atrocities. Wow. Can you say classy? Why Stein is so enthusiastic about a subject usually restricted to fundie evangelicals is yet to be explained.
I recommend reading the whole thing, but some gems are:
[Premise Media’s] CEO, A. Logan Craft, once observed that questions about the origin of Earth and its life forms “are answered very differently by secularists and people who hold religious beliefs.” Can you believe your eyes? Craft has depended upon one of your own favorite logical practices, the principle of the excluded middle! This is too good to be true.
By his premise no secularists believe in Intelligent Design, and no people with religious beliefs subscribe to Darwin’s theory. If there are people with religious beliefs who agree with Darwin (Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Mormons, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists, for example) they are mistaken because they do not subscribe to A. Logan Craft’s religious beliefs.
The more you know about evolution, or simple logic, the more you are likely to be appalled by the film. No one with an ability for critical thinking could watch more than three minutes without becoming aware of its tactics. It isn’t even subtle.
Toward the end of the film, we find that Stein actually did want to title it “From Darwin to Hitler.” He finds a Creationist who informs him, “Darwinism inspired and advanced Nazism.” He refers to advocates of eugenics as liberal. I would not call Hitler liberal. Arbitrary forced sterilization in our country has been promoted mostly by racists, who curiously found many times more blacks than whites suitable for such treatment.
Ben Stein is only getting warmed up. He takes a field trip to visit one “result” of Darwinism: Nazi concentration camps. “As a Jew,” he says, “I wanted to see for myself.” We see footage of gaunt, skeletal prisoners. Pathetic children. A mound of naked Jewish corpses. “It’s difficult to describe how it felt to walk through such a haunting place,” he says. Oh, go ahead, Ben Stein. Describe. It filled you with hatred for Charles Darwin and his followers, who represent the overwhelming majority of educated people in every nation on earth. It is not difficult for me to describe how you made me feel by exploiting the deaths of millions of Jews in support of your argument for a peripheral Christian belief. It fills me with contempt.