Ben Stein Contradicts “Crossroads” Explaination for Anti-Evolutionary Film Expelled!

The producers of Expelled! have long claimed that the premise for their film, the very “Expelled” theme and concept evolved organically: their horror at academic science and their crusade against it was something they discovered in the course of making the film. This story is critical to defending themselves against accusations that they deliberately mislead nearly all of their pro-evolution interviewees: remember, they came to these scientists under a completely different production company name that had no links back to the real production company or the evangelical main producers, were calling the film Crossroads, and described it as an even-handed exploration of the “intersection between science and faith.”

Well Wes Elsberry has come across some interesting interviews with Ben Stein that stand in rather stark contrast to the “Expelled evolved out of the interviews” account of things.

Here’s the key quote:

WORLD: How did you get involved with Expelled?

STEIN: I was approached a couple of years ago by the producers, and they described to me the central issue of Expelled, which was about Darwinism and why it has such a lock on the academic establishment when the theory has so many holes. And why freedom of speech has been lost at so many colleges to the point where you can’t question even the slightest bit of Darwinism or your colleagues will spurn you, you’ll lose your job, and you’ll be publicly humiliated. As they sent me books and talked to me about these things I became more enthusiastic about participating.

Plus I was never a big fan of Darwinism because it played such a large part in the Nazis’ Final Solution to their so-called “Jewish problem” and was so clearly instrumental in their rationalizing of the Holocaust. So I was primed to want to do a project on how Darwinism relates to fascism and to outline the flaws in Darwinism generally.

Compare this to the sneering excuses the producers were publishing back in September:

The release references “Crossroads,” as a “tentative” title, if that’s OK? So just to set the record straight, the film was titled EXPELLED only after we began to see the disturbing pattern and shocking information that the footage reveals! So, thanks for the title guys, we couldn’t have done it without you! And we’re still considering using “Crossroads” for something else! Watch out.

And remember: here’s the blurb that was shown to the scientists about what Crossroads was:

Crossroads – The Intersection of Science and Religion

It’s been the central question of humanity throughout the ages: How in the world did we get here? In 1859, Charles Darwin provided the answer in his landmark book, “The Origin of Species.” In the century and a half since, biologists, geologists, physicists, astronomers, and philosophers have contributed a vast amount of research and data in support of Darwin’s idea. And yet, millions of Christians, Muslims, Jews and other people of faith believe in a literal interpretation that humans were crafted by the hand of God. This conflict between science and religion has unleashed passions in school board meetings, courtrooms and town halls across America and beyond.

Nothing in there about claims of persecution or lack of academic freedom. No references to Hitler or fascism. No accusation of huge holes in evolution. No mention of Intelligent Design. In fact, the wording of the blurb seems to imply (somewhat incorrectly) that Darwin provided the answer to our origins, and that there are vast amounts of research and data that support evolutionary theory.

Now imagine yourself as an employee for Premise/Rampart: say, associate producer Mark Mathis. Take as a given what Ben Stein says he was told the film was all about even years prior to existence of Rampart, the public face you will be using to line up interviews, instead of the real production company, Premise.

How on earth could you possibly innocently sit down and write out that Crossroads blurb given the pretty darn uncompromising and specific description of the movie that Stein describes, which happens to pretty much match Expelled! exactly and Crossroads, almost not at all?

8 Responses to Ben Stein Contradicts “Crossroads” Explaination for Anti-Evolutionary Film Expelled!

  1. N.B. says:

    Nice reporting. It’s good to see that there are so many bloggers willing to get into the belly of this beast and rip it open to expose its sordid innards for all to see.

    I actually attended a short presenation/discussion and Q&A session a few weeks ago about the intersection of science and religion and a girl in the audience wanted to know more about “this movie she kept hearing about” that “exposed a conspiracy against scientists presenting alternatives to evolution.” I was quite pleased to hear Expelled! get the smackdown that it deserved there, too. Apparently the questioner legitimately didn’t know anything about the movie and was very curious as to what the whole thing was about; this sort of thing just further illustrates the remarkable dishonesty involved in the movie’s production (and advertisement, up until relatively recently).

  2. Bad says:

    To be fair, simply hearing about something second-hand and getting either a garbled version, or just some talking points for one side, is not exactly uncommon or unique to Expelled. I hope they were polite to the girl, even while criticizing the film.

  3. […] Click here for the complete post, with quotations from Ben Stein. This entry was written by Tony Whitson and posted on April 13, 2008 at 11:20 am and filed under Evolution, blog with tags ben stein, Expelled. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. « Rebranding creationism […]

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  7. […] for this deception… Quite the boondoggle Expelled turned out to be huh? More lyin' fer Jesus. Ben Stein Contradicts “Crossroads” Explaination for Anti-Evolutionary Film Expelled! | T… Flunked, Not Expelled: Ben Stein Contradicts Mark Mathis | The Austringer Flunked, Not Expelled: […]

  8. Ben Stein did not encourage the removal of the Theory of Evolution being taught or even talked about in the academic or scientific world. I agree with that too. The problem is that Intelligent Design is not allowed in the academic or scientific world. Why can’t it be allowed? Why can’t both be included in the round table of discussion? THAT is the big question and it is met with excuses such as, “Intelligent Design” is not scientific. Well aliens seeding the Earth isn’t scientific either. What a lame excuse. Scientists interviewed in the movie have given a more credible reason for this. Darwinism as an explanation of the origin of life is coming apart at the seams and scientists don’t want to discuss alternative theories that would include God. They’ll talk about aliens, but not God. Period.

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