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Controversy in the theater

I’d be remiss not to at least mention on this blog the controversial Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a documentary-style film about the theory of Intelligent Design and evolutionary biology that is bringing a swirl of God-talk into open spaces.

From what I've read, the film apparantly suggests that ID is so taboo in many scientific circles and academic institutions (which apparantly hold the position that ID can't be defined as science like evolution) that some of those who discuss or advocate it have been “expelled” from those realms by their colleagues. (Christianity Today actually looked into one of those instances here.) Critics of the film claim it is didactic, misleading, deceptive, full of errors and propagandist. Advocates of the film claim it brings into the mainstream the hostility against ID and open conversation about weaknesses in evolution in academia.

I’ve held off writing anything about the film because I haven’t seen it or done enough research—and frankly I’m not erudite enough in science to render a judgment on ID one way or the other. That doesn’t mean I’m not fascinated by or enjoy aspects of science or have my views about the relationship between science and faith, but I’m not close to being even an armchair scientist—and the swirling controversy makes me think I need a degree (or at least more background and research) to comment safely, heh.

But I can point you to other folks and places that are bringing the God-talk surrounding this film into open spaces. Christianity Today’s Mark Moring lists a series of links to such occurrences at the beginning of his review. Film critics like Peter Chattaway and Jeffrey Overstreet have been following the “conversation” (which seems at times to regretfully fall into angry and even mean rants on both sides), even starting one as the case with this Overstreet post (which garnered 10,000 hits in 24 hours). Chattaway also has an interview up with Ben Stein, who hosts the documentary film. There are those I read in the blogging world who like the film and its ideas (like Barbara Nicolosi at Church of the Masses) and those who do not (like James McGrath at Exploring Our Matrix). And I think it’s important to note that (like Moring points out in his review) the “sides” on this debate aren’t as clearly defined as we might think: “There are some creationists who also believe in parts of evolutionary theory, and there are some evolutionists who believe in a creator—and plenty of people in between.”

As to the mainstream media, Rotten Tomatoes has 23 reviews listed with a 9% fresh rating (in other words, “rotten”), with positive reviews listed from Christianity Today and ComingSoon and negative ones from everyone else (including top critics from the New York Times, Chicago Sun Times’ Nell Minow at BeliefNet, and USA Today).

We probably won’t make it to the theater for this one (my only two in-the-theater films in the last year have been children’s films), but it might end up on our NetFlix list.

Comments

I wouldn't mind seeing it but it's not showing anywhere around here! LOL So, I'll wait for your review and grad it on DVD myself!