Students: Thumbs up to 'Expelled' preview
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--Some 200 students at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary recently got a free sneak preview of the upcoming documentary "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," and they gave it high marks.
Running nearly 100 minutes, "Expelled" documents the stranglehold that Darwinian evolution holds on contemporary science, particularly as it exists within major research universities. The documentary's on-screen host, Ben Stein, shows how even the slightest departure from the Darwinian party line in favor of alternate theories of human origins such as Intelligent Design often brings swift academic and personal discredit upon the scientist proposing an alternative view. It opens in theaters April 18.
"Frankly, I thought I would be bored stiff watching a 100-minute documentary and I couldn't imagine anyone watching a 100-minute documentary in a theater," said James Parker, professor of worldview and culture at the seminary. "But the movie holds your attention to the very end. One of the great strengths was the candid interviews it had with many atheists. For example, [evolutionist] William Provine went down the list of implications of atheism.... His candidness was shocking and appalling in one sense, but in another sense, it was great because it gave you a feeling for the implications of atheism.... The movie also made a great appeal for academic freedom."
Throughout the film Stein interviews philosophers and scientists who were fired from academic positions or denied tenure for proposing a possibility of intelligent design in human origins. He also interviews noted evolutionists such as Provine and Richard Dawkins who mock Intelligent Design and Creationism.
Callie Nolen, a master of arts student from Mt. Juliet, Tenn., said "Expelled" challenged her to a deeper study of the Christian worldview and its chief competitor, Darwinian naturalism.
"This film deeply moved me," Nolen said. "The global implications of the Darwinist worldview presented in the movie shocked me regarding its gross devaluing of human life and confronted the subtle prejudices of my own heart. I came away challenged to study in more arenas of science and to add my voice to those challenging the Darwinist grip on science academia."
David Schrock, a master of divinity student from Mendon, Mich., said the film clearly demonstrates the worldview thinking present within the enterprise of science -- a reality that makes science an important venue for Christian influence.
"Ironically, Stein points out that science is as much a worldview-shaping belief system as any major religion, Christianity or otherwise," Schrock said.
"Stein not only exposes the academic elitism of the modern academy and their slanted unwillingness to admit theories that propose design, no matter how anonymous the designer may be, [but] he also extends the argument to include the social and political ramifications that this kind of worldview fosters and has historically created."
Courtney Tarter, a master of divinity student from Minneapolis, Minn., said the movie helped her to understand more clearly the arguments made by evolutionists and reminded her of the importance of being able to engage cultural issues biblically.
"My initial impression of the movie was sadness, especially when I heard Richard Dawkins talk about the ignorance of those who believe in Intelligent Design and Christianity," Tarter said. "It made me realize that the god of this world really has blinded the minds of people to think that God is only for the ignorant. It gave me a greater desire to see people come to Christ and to know the God who created them.
"I thought that it was a very engaging movie, which I think will draw people in regardless of their belief on creation. It also made me realize that, as Christians, it is so important for us to know the arguments, to engage with those opposed to us, but most importantly to know and believe our Bibles."
Parker does not expect the movie to exercise a deep impact upon the elite scientists who safeguard the Darwinian franchise, but he does hope it will sound an alarm to the culture at large as to the closed-mindedness of the scientific establishment.
"It's not going to affect the Richard Dawkins and the William Provines," Parker said. "But I think it will help inform the culture at large as to what is going on. That could have a trickle-down effect in applying corporate public pressure to open up the universities to be more open-minded about other approaches. Only time will tell."
The movie is rated PG for thematic elements and very brief language. For more information visit www.getexpelled.com or www.expelledthemovie.com. Jeff Robinson is a writer for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.