This month, Canada will see the release of the controversial film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The film is a documentary presenting the case that Intelligent Design has been unfairly excluded from consideration by the scientific community and is hosted by the actor Ben Stein. Its opening weekend in the USA made it their third biggest opening documentary, and at this point it is the twelfth largest grossing documentary film. However, the film has been surrounded by controversy and lawsuits from its production to its claims, and was very poorly received by film critics.
The film interviews several famous scientists and atheists about evolution. However, many of these scientists, including Richard Dawkins, allege that they were misinformed as to what the film was about and its stance. Furthermore, the reknowned atheist and science blogger PZ Myers, who appears in the film itself in an interview section was refused admission to a screening of the film and asked to leave. There are several copyright controversies. There are copyright concerns about a cell animation sequence, which bears striking similarites to the Harvard University Inner Life of the Cell animation produced by XVIVO. David Bolinsky of XVIVO sent a cease-and-desist letter to the producers asking them to stop using the animation and the Expelled producers have filed a lawsuit against XVIVO to assert their copyright. Yoko Ono filed a lawsuit concerning the use of John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ but the 15 second sample was ruled to be fair use.
The film itself alleges that Intelligent Design has not received fair consideration as a theory and that individuals have been persecuted because of this. It also argues that the theory of evolution has contributed to the Nazi holocaust, communism, atheism, and planned parenthood. The National Center for Science Education in the USA has created an entire website with evidence refuting the many claims made and the theories presented in Expelled. The film has also been condemned by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
I have written before about my disappointment with Intelligent Design and its proponents. I have no problem with anyone believing that the world was created by a greater being. That is their opinion and none of my business. I also have no problem with someone believing that this greater being created the world in severals days. Once again, that is their opinion and their business. However, I do strongly object when this belief is forced upon others by attempting to teach religion beliefs as science. By all means, question the theory of evolution, look for counter evidence and create an alternate theory. Make your claims clear and show your evidence. I have seen very little evidence that Intelligent Design proponents actually attempt this. Instead, it seems that they just seek to undermine the teaching of science.
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is released in Canada on June 27th (2008). Maybe the friendly humanist could let us know how it’s received.