[Discovery Institute President Bruce Chapman just asked me to post this on his behalf:]
Discovery Salutes Expelled
by Bruce Chapman
The producers of Expelled have high hopes as the film opens today.
Practical questions of theater exposures and audience awareness are things that we, as a think tank, cannot assess, of course. But we are cheering the filmmakers on. First signs look positive. The over-the-top attacks of most official reviewers–offended by the film’s message, not its quality–may turn out to help in some quarters. These are the exact same reviewers who commonly tell us not to object to offensive Hollywood products, but just to judge a film for its production quality. By now a large share of the population is wise to such hypocritical standards.
Some other things already are clear. Just making a major documentary film on subject so serious–although it is packaged in Ben Stein’s unique and uproarious humor–and opening it in so many theaters nationally is a huge achievement. The preview screenings that Premise media conducted around the country brought the story of Darwinism’s attack on objective science to the attention of thousands of people who didn’t know about it before, let alone understand it. The initial theater run will be followed by small-group screenings, TV and DVDs.
This film is going to be a classic and there is nothing the fulminating opposition can do about it. (In recent days they even resorted to threatening lawsuits, just confirming their growing reputation for ill-liberal spite.)
There is no way that we, for our part, could have persuaded the evangelizing atheists in science–that is, the big guns of Darwinism–to let their true personalities appear in front of a camera so people actually could witness their furious, unreasoning contempt.
Expelled has done that. Hearing and seeing Richard Dawkins criticize the disingenuous and propagandistic approach of the National Center for Science Education (a part of the film the Darwinists simply do not want to acknowledge in public, let alone discuss) was worth it all for me. And that was before Dawkins went on to explain the space alien theory of life’s origin that Carl Sagan, Francis Crick and many other Darwinians promote as their own creation story. (This theory is real science, right, Richard? Testable, falsifiable, based on evidence you have researched?)
The film has one moment after another like that. The second time I saw it brought out aspects I had missed in the first. I’ll see it in a theater this weekend. Already one can tell that this is a documentary that will be watched for years; it is authentic and path finding.
Almost all the main elements of the struggle in which the Discovery Institute Center for Science and Culture has been engaged are in this film pulled together in an artful, witty, memorable account. It is a great credit to the writers, editors, Ben Stein of course (who has found, as one does, that defending those under attack is to bring attack on oneself), and most of all the producers–and, most notably, Walt Ruloff.
Oh, if we had been making the film, there would have been even more about the scientific flaws in Darwin’s theory and even more about the scientific case for intelligent design. If the filmmakers had been able to wait a few months we would have been able to provide them with some exciting new scientific studies and books to cite. But I have to concede that the resulting film would have been twice as long and probably unusable as a Hollywood feature!
In any case, this is not our film. We didn’t come up with the idea and we didn’t come up with the money (critics who think we did flatter us!).
Frankly, I not only was skeptical, but also suspicious when I first heard about the film project a couple of years ago. That suspicion was wrong. While it is not our film our fellows are the focus of much of the attention and Ben Stein has electrified his audiences with their story. It is brilliant. And for all this we are grateful. It moves the whole question of “what it means to be human” forward. It opens new doors. And it forces many potential allies who would prefer to avert their eyes to recognize that the fight for academic freedom in science is inevitably their fight, too.