The producers of Expelled! have done a masterful job of insisting that their film speaks dangerous and important truths that have been silenced. They all but imply that unless you shill out 10$ to see their film, you’re part of the conspiracy, or scared to face their challenge.
It’s easy to forget that this stance is, simply, ridiculous. The film doesn’t contain even a single allegation or argument that hasn’t already been debated to death elsewhere. It certainly, in 90 minutes of running time, cannot present ANY side of any issue issue in anywhere near the amount of depth found in books or blogs: even purely pro-Intelligent Design websites contain more detailed content in a single days’ posting than the film can squeeze in alongside its “edgy” (i.e. inexpensive padding) deployment of stock footage and musical montages.
The only thing particularly unique about Expelled! is that it is bizarrely oblivious to the devastating objections already raised against its core arguments, in some cases decades ago. It’s as if none of these arguments (the vast majority of which, coincidentally scientists won pretty decisively) ever happened. The producers have even had, in the face of the movie’s selectively enforced ignorance, the incredible gall to brag that no one had responded to their substantive arguments… before yet again scrambling in fear when someone actually tried to respond.
So why should anyone bother paying to see the film? Henry Neufeld, who calls himself a moderate Christian, makes the best case Ive seen so far as to why most people should not, utterly regardless of whether they are interested in its subject matter or what side they support. In doing so, I think he sums up the core problems with the film better than any anti-Expelled blogger I’ve yet seen, including myself (I’ve been struggling unsuccessfully to boil it all down into a nice press primer for some time). Here’s the overview of his basic objections, each of which is well argued in more detail on his blog, and any of which are damning flaws.
- Misrepresentation of evolution
- First amendment issues are badly confused
- Academic freedom doesn’t guarantee you a job or tenure
- The problem for intelligent design is not that it hasn’t been considered
- The connection of evolution with Hitler
- The lie that accepting the theory of evolution is the equivalent of atheism
Back when the film was first announced, the producers scoffed at all the early criticism they received, making fun of folks that would dare characterize a film they had yet to see. And yet, now that the film has been seen and reviewed several times over, there seems to be little reason to question our original low expectations. All of our predictions were, if anything, too generous.
Personally, as a student of political pushback and as someone that wants to be able to pick apart the film’s claims in detail for others, I’ll be seeing the movie. As a good capitalist, I’ll even pay for the odious privilege. But unless you have my bizarre collections of interests and ambitions, save your money.
The movie is nothing more than the real life version of a messageboard troll. And what’s the cardinal rule of dealing with trolls? Do. not. feed.