Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is a 2008 American documentary movie, written by and starring Ben Stein.
Ben Stein explores the history of the theory of evolution, how it came to displace creation theory as the most commonly accepted explanation for the origin of life on Earth, and argues that the competing theory of intelligent design better explains the origin of humanity, but that scientists are unwilling to accept it because of their dogmatic belief in evolution theory.
Why It Sucks
- False Advertising: The movie was promoted as a "documentary exploring the fallacies of the intelligent design theory", when in fact it promotes intelligent design theory, and criticizes evolution.
- The poster also claims that intelligent design is a "smart new idea", even though both intelligent design and creationism predate evolution theory.
- The movie offers very little evidence towards intelligent design, and spends most of its running time accusing scientists of being close-minded for not accepting it's just as valid a theory as evolution. Even if you believe this is true, it soon gets very repetitive.
- A lot of the running time is spent arguing that if humanity was created via evolution, then life has no meaning. Even though the origin of life on Earth and the meaning of existence are two completely separate subjects.
- It misrepresents the positions of several prominent scientists. This includes Richard Dawkins, who says in an interview that while he doesn't completely discount the possibility that an intelligent designer may exist, he thinks evolution theory fits the known facts better. Somehow, Stein interprets this to mean that Dawkins doesn't truly believe in evolution at all.
- The entire basis of Stein's argument is that if there are any holes in the theory of evolution, then it automatically means that intelligent design is the correct theory. That's not how science works - even if evolution were to be completely disproven, that doesn't mean that intelligent design is the right explanation.
- Relatedly, Stein tries to disprove evolution theory by saying that it can't explain how life first came into being on Earth. The two are actually separate theories. And even if they were both proven wrong, it wouldn't prove the existence of God or some other intelligent designer.
- Several of the scenes are faked. In particular, a scene of Stein delivering a lecture to a crowd of college students and seemingly converting them all to believing in intelligent design was actually done with a crowd of extras, and only a small group of actual students (who were from the college's Christian society, and thus already believed in creationism).
- Tries to pull the cheap argument of claiming that Hitler and Stalin were both atheists who believed in evolution, therefore atheism and evolution must both be bad. Exactly how this is supposed to actually disprove evolution theory isn't explained.
- Note that while Stalin is known beyond reasonable doubt to have been atheistic and a believer in evolution, the same can't be said about Hitler, as he made numerous references to God in Mein Kampf, and publicly proclaimed several times that the Aryan race was created in God's image.
- Stein also claims that as a Jew, the fact that evolution theory was used to justify the holocaust is personally relevant to him. It's not exactly respectful to the victims of the holocaust to use their deaths in an attempt to discredit evolution, though.
- Even if you accept that the Nazis did use the theory of evolution to justify committing the holocaust, people have used religion to justify plenty of atrocities throughout history as well, but Stein completely ignores this.
- About two-thirds of the way through the movie, it gives up on its original premise and just starts pushing general religious propaganda, including saying that you should believe in God because if there isn't a God, then it won't really matter, but if there is a God, you'll spend an eternity in Hell. Even though this has absolutely nothing to do with evolution or intelligent design.
The Only Redeeming Quality
- Stein and several of the participants do say that science and religion are not mutually exclusive, and that they don't personally think less of anyone who does believe in evolution theory.