College professors host viewing of Expelled
Last Thursday evening, I saw Ben Stein’s documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed at one of our local Cinemas. After the film, four professors from Franklin and Marshal College graciously hosted a discussion panel for a sizable crowd. Under the moderation of Dr. Michael Murray (Humanities and Philosophy), each professor took a few minutes to respond to the documentary. Numerous questioned followed and things remained generally calm.
Although released in a limited number of theaters, according to one source, Expelled brought in over five million dollars in ten days and was ranked sixth in political documentaries. The film is provocative in its effort to give a voice to highly credentialed scientists who have been severely mistreated because they dared to make reference to Intelligent Design in mildly commendable ways.
Stein’s use of historical associations with the founding principles of America, Adolf Hitler’s atrocities and the Berlin Wall will deeply disturb some viewers as it did some of our panel members. Stein, however, is not merely interested in stirring extremes, he passionately (albeit with his typical dry humor) sets forth a case for the dangers of allowing academic elitists to profess commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression when in reality they vigorously suppress it and belittle those who disagree with them.
Not surprisingly, in an unintended way, many critics of Expelled substantiated the claims of the film with their biased rhetoric against it. In the movie reviews in the Sunday News of Lancaster, Expelled was ridiculed and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (well-known for its glaring mistakes) was praised—-go figure!
It is alarming when the academy launches irrational hostility toward reputable scientists who dare to attribute intelligent design to biological structures. C. S. Lewis foresaw all of this when he warned against the reign of philosophical naturalism in the academy. According to Lewis, naturalism is the view that the physical world is a self-contained system that works by blind, unbroken natural laws. Naturalistic philosophy declares that nothing beyond nature could have any conceivable relevance to what happens in nature. Let’s be honest: There is not one shred of scientific evidence for this conclusion. Only faith could allow you to believe it.
The real need in the discussion about intelligent design is, as one professor noted, “a separation of the philosophy from the real science, both in order to have an honest, unbiased scientific enterprise, and to protect the public from getting the false impression that scientific evidence has shown that the evolutionary process is our true creator.”
Steven W. Cornell