Note: This was originally posted on April 17th on one of my other blogs.
Given that Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is coming out tomorrow, I thought it would be appropriate to devote an entry to the film. I’ve actually been contemplating whether or not I should go see the movie in the theaters.
Personally, I believe in Theistic Evolution (see the end for a brief background). Despite my position, I was still willing to go to stuff like Kent Hovind or Phillip Johnson‘s talk at my university. Granted, I saw him as a comedian, but I still felt it was only fair to at least listen to the other side. Which brings me to this film. I feel like I should watch the film, but I have some issues with Expelled:
1) They are bribing schools to go watch the movie to inflate their numbers.
2) Plagiarizing and infringing the copyrights of XVIVO, John Lennon/Yoko Ono, and The Killers. And then having the gall of countersuing XVIVO?! WTF. It’s a SLAPP (A lawsuit filed to intimidate or silence opponents). Guess where they filed it? Texas, a state without anti-SLAPP laws.
3) Typical documentary style of tricking people by pretending they are being interviewed for something else, and then distorting their statements. Yes, many other documentaries do that, but that doesn’t make it right. But it’s especially stupid when it comes from people who often claim to have the moral high ground. We call this lying for God.
4) The above isn’t so bad except they only interviewed atheist scientists. What about all the Christian scientists over at the American Scientific Affiliation who have no problem with not getting “expelled” from their jobs? In particular, why no Kenneth Miller, a devout Roman Catholic who’s a professor of biology at Brown University? Here’s what Mathis, one of the producers of Expelled had to say:
“But I would tell you from a, my personal standpoint as somebody who’s worked on this project, that Ken Miller would have confused the film unnecessarily. I don’t agree with Ken Miller. I think that you, I think that when you look at this issue and this debate, that really there’s, there’s one side of the line or the other, and you, it’s, it’s hard to stay, I don’t think you can intellectually, honestly, honestly intellectually stand on a line that I don’t think exists—”
Gee, I wonder why? Is it because Ken Miller is living proof that the premise of the film is false, that Christianity is NOT incompatible with evolution, and that religious scientists can indeed exist in academia? Is it because Ken Miller has even gone and given a wonderful talk on why Intelligent Design is wrong?
But that’s not all Mathis said, he then had the following to say about Ken:
“No, I don’t think so, because, uh, the form of Catholicism that Ken Miller accepts and practices is, is nowhere near the form of Catholicism that is followed by Catholics who are members of the Catholic church, who believe in Catholic doctrine. What he believes is certainly out of—”
Ok, just WTF. Who does Mathis, a non-Catholic, think he is to define Catholicism for Catholics? This quote is just overflowing with ignorance. The form of Catholicism Ken Miller accepts is also the one the Pope accepts (at least the previous one). Catholics generally believe in Theistic Evolution (which is the same as naturalistic evolution as far as the science goes). NOT Creationism. NOT Intelligent Design. Because even the popes have stated several times that evolution is compatible with the Catholic faith. So where does Mathis get off on implying the Pope isn’t Catholic?
In light of all this stuff, I have decided that I cannot, in good faith, give my money to these people for no reason. I’d love to see audience reactions at the theater, and I’d still like to see the film to see how bad it is. I will probably go if a friend of mine wants to go see Expelled so I can at least protect them from the deliberate lies and misinformation of the film, especially if they’re also a Creationist. But for now, I have decided to give my money to a better cause. I went and bought a copy of Ken Miller’s Finding Darwin’s God instead.
The topic has always interested me. The first time I’d even heard of the word Creationism was during science class in middle school, I think 7th grade. It was only mentioned maybe twice and it confused me a little as it did create some tension in my mind as I think he said something about the Bible not being true. I forgot about it afterward. He didn’t mention it again and I didn’t find the material objectionable either. In fact, I think the only reason I even heard of Creationism at such an “early” age is because I was in an international school which was based on a hybrid US and British system. I was living in Asia at the time, and here, pretty much NOBODY gives Creationism any serious thought, or any thought at all.
The next time I heard of Creationism was Freshman year in college. One of the girls who lived across from me in the dorms had posted some flyers on Creationism and why evolution was false on the floor bulletin board. It simply boggled my mind that anyone could actually believe something this. I spent a day or two looking up information to refute these claims, but by then, it had already been taken down because it was posted without approval. I ended up talking to this girl about it. The dialogue and association had a pretty big impact on my life. For one thing, it did bring me back to God in a way. But the agnostic part of me will always be there and I doubt I’ll ever have that emotional connection that Protestants seem to have, but at least I understand my Catholic faith better. I was seriously exploring matters of religion and faith at the time, and I even gave Creationism an honest shot. I read their their literature, talked to people about it. No dice. The failure of Creationism to convince me at… my most vulnerable pretty much guaranteed that I would end up having a hard stance against it from then on.