I love documentaries. Nothing beats an expose that gets the blood pumping and the mind working.
Even better is catching a documentary with someone who disagrees with you and getting into an extended debate after.
Normally, documentaries don’t open in Tri-Cities. They’re tested in major markets and if popular enough — such as Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth — they eventually work their way to areas the size of Tri-Cities.
EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed did open in Tri-Cities and has done very well at the box office as it has in other markets.
Nationwide, the bucks brought in per screen is very good, so it’ll probably be around awhile.
Churches and religious organizations will also likely keep the film alive as more believers attend to see bad guy Darwinists get their patooties kicked by the diminutive Ben Stein.
What irks me is that it wasn’t screened for critics, and I didn’t have a chance to post a review the day it opened. Considering the content, I can understand the reluctance of the producers to open their film up to the media first. However, not all media is closed-minded to the topic of evolution vs. intelligent design.
And not all media will belittle the producers for even thinking that an intelligent designer made the universe.
Some of us love the debate. But I’m ahead of myself.
The film’s draw is Stein, an actor, intellectual, financial guru, comedian and TV personality. For those unable to place the name with a face, he played a teacher in the 1986 comedy classic, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Comedy Channel veterans will know him from Win Ben Stein’s Money one of my all-time favorite television shows.
Stein has the ultra-dry delivery needed to hammer home the points in this brilliant intellectual exercise. But whether the film is an intellectual exercise depends on your point of view on the science or lack of science discussed.
EXPOSED is an argument within an argument. The “science” is evolution vs. intelligent design. Though you can take intelligent design another step and bring up the word God, that isn’t the point. Stein meets with biologists and other scientists and researchers that have been ostracized by others in their profession and denied tenure in universities because they believe the universe is designed by an intelligence.
Though Stein definitely agrees with the intelligent design theory, he seems more concerned by the refusal of Darwinists to even debate the issue. They’re right. End of discussion.
That’s the argument within the argument and is the more chilling of the two topics. Stein can’t understand an education system as advanced as the one we have not considering the science of creationism. Academia believes life evolved through a series of accidents and that’s that. Case closed.
Stein compares that attitude to the Berlin Wall. Socialists dictating and controlling every thought and action on one side, and free and free-thinking people on the other. One side has bright colors, laughter, and joy; the other barbed wire, machine guns, tanks, long faces and no color.
A good example of Darwinist attitude on religion comes from a biologist who tells Stein that he envisions and pushes for a world where people only do religion on weekends like a hobby.
Another who wrote a book on why there isn’t a God tries to explain the origin of life on Earth as being seeded from beings from another world. Never mind answering questions about where those creatures came from.
Along the way this thoughtful documentary covers some fascinating scientific theory about the origin of life, whether there is or isn’t a God, and why it is to no one’s advantage to continue to keep the mind closed to these thought-provoking facts.
Stein isn’t pushing his view on anyone. His point is in a free society there is no room for intellectual censorship. All points of view should be welcomed and civilized debate encouraged.
Today’s colleges and universities -- bastions of intellectual freedom and the guardians of knowledge and learning -- do not want debate. They want complete agreement. Open-mindedness means you agree with me.
And he contends the thought that Nazis will accept nothing less than goose-stepping with the prevailing thoughts of the day.
It is obvious that Stein hopes those who disagree with him will see the movie. Many who agree that life evolved will see it and will find the Darwinists interviewed are correct. Those same people will also find the intellectual stifling difficult to handle.
At the same time, EXPELLED is not all long faces and super serious. Stein has an irreverent sense of humor, and even if you disagree with his point of view on intelligent design, you will appreciate how much fun he has getting to the point.
Have you seen EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed? Write and let me know your thoughts. And I’m interested in hearing from both sides.
Let the debate begin.
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Rated PG for mature themes. It is playing at the Columbia Mall 8.