Saturday, April 12, 2008

April 18th: Intelligent Design Hits Theaters!

...And Theatergoers Above The Bible Belt!

Yes, this blog will be commenting on a film I have not yet seen. I will not be so hypocritical as to agree with the following critics and say they are spot on. Instead, I'll say that until the time that I saw an ad for this movie, I respected Ben Stein. Yes, even though he started his career by writing speeches for Nixon. Even though he debased himself with the whole "Win Ben Stein's Money" bit ($5000 top prize? Proof that higher education and swift mental abilities get you squat in this world). By becoming sooo Right Wing Judeo-Christian-Anything-But-Evilution, he's become a reactionary who couldn't possibly be taken seriously. That, to me, is incredibly disappointing. Maybe he needs the money.

Some reviews of Ben Stein's Expelled - Intelligence Not Allowed

(Josh Timonem - Richard [note: this one is to be expected, but I threw it in because it was so exceptionally vitriolic.]

Expelled is said to be opening in 1,000 theaters nationwide on April 18th. Please don't give them any of your money to see it. If it tanks in the theaters, and you have the stomach for such garbage, I'm sure you'll be able to see it soon by other means that don't involve supporting Creationists.

It really was an unprofessional showing, and a terribly unprofessional film, aside from the content. "The Wall" The film opens with scenes of the Berlin wall being built, brick by brick. The footage and title cards are affected to look old, like a 50's educational film. The effect doesn't look professional, and by this point I was already starting to question the technical quality of the film. They're really trying to push this in national theatres? Don't they have someone sympathetic to this nonsense that knows how to make a film?

We see Ben Stein preparing to speak in a college auditorium. It really felt like they were trying to emulate Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. USA #1! Ben Stein is the narrator, and is as terrible as you can imagine. He gives a monologue about how freedom is what makes America great, over images of flags around the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Stein walking by the mirror pond, and so on.

(Dan Whipple - Colorado Confidential): "...the film is so intellectually garbled it's hard to summarize. "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is Summa Theologica compared to "Expelled."

Roger Moore (Orlando Sentinel): I lost track of the number of times Stalin's image hit the screen, and in the ways the movie equated science with Darwinism with atheism with Hitler or Stalin. Subtle, it's not.

Stein (he co-wrote it) builds his movie on classic Big Tobacco Tactics. Create just a sliver of doubt about evolution by pitching this argument in terms of academic freedom. "Legitimate" learned scientists are being silenced by the Darwinian cabal of thought police. Says Stein. (Emphasis my own)

(Jeffrey Kluger, TIME) It's in the film's final third that it runs entirely off the rails as Stein argues that there is a clear line from Darwinism to euthanasia, abortion, eugenics and--wait for it--Nazism. Theories of natural selection, it's claimed, were a necessary if not sufficient condition for Hitler's killing machine to get started. The truth, of course, is that the only necessary and sufficient condition for human beings to murder one another is the simple fact of being human. We've always been a lustily fratricidal species, one that needed no Charles Darwin to goad us into millenniums of self-slaughter. (Emphasis my own)

(Robert McHenry - Britannica Blog) You laughed at his affectless droning high school economics teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off ; you may have enjoyed his repartee with Jimmy Kimmel or his command of trivial knowledge on “Win Ben Stein’s Money”; you may even have run out and bought some eyedrops on his recommendation. But don’t ask him about evolution, Charles Darwin, science, or any related topic, for on those Ben Stein is an ignoramus. Since he is demonstrably intelligent, it must be concluded that he is a willful ignoramus. (Emphasis my own)