Ben Stein is a smart man - he has been a lawyer, a professor, and a White House speech writer. His game show, Win Ben Stein's Money, showed us that he knows a great deal about any number of subjects. When I first heard that he was making a movie about the Evolution vs Creationism debate, I was intrigued. When I realized he was coming down on the side of 'intelligent design,' I was appalled.
Let me admit my bias: in my opinion, 'intelligent design' is not science. Because its definition includes the existence of a supernatural being, it cannot be proved or disproved. Therefore, I do not think it should be published in scientific journals or taught in science classrooms. According to Stein this makes me part of Big Science, a vast left-wing conspiracy to quash independent thought and refute the existence of god.
Expelled has all the elements of really good propaganda. The proponents of 'intelligent design' are interviewed by Stein sitting in their homes, local coffee shops or outdoors, using natural lighting and flattering camera angles. Scientists, on the other hand, are shown answering questions in darkened offices or laboratories, usually standing up and facing the camera. Ominous music plays in the background every time one of them questions Judeo-Christian doctrine. Stein visits concentration camps and relives the dark days of eugenics, essential equating evolutionary biologists with Nazi 'scientists.' I so wish that was an exaggeration.
This movie would be hilarious, if it wasn't so painful to watch. Not because it makes you question evolutionary theory or think critically about 'intelligent design' (trust me, it does neither). But because a smart, funny man is exposed as nothing but a shyster, a fake.
For more information, check out Expelled Exposed from the National Center for Science Education.