Tuesday, April 22, 2008

See eXpelled – help truth to “Win” (through) Ben Stein’s Movie

This Friday my wife and I, accompanied by my parents, went to see an extraordinary film. eXpelled was not what you would expect from a successful comedic actor, but then again, if you have followed Ben Stein’s work you know that conventional wisdom does not always apply. The four of us went in with fairly different expectations. I had some sense of what the movie was – my father was under the impression that it was to be a bit more of a comedy than it actually was, and my wife and mother were out for a date with their husbands. Shannon and mom were the only two that got what they expected.

eXpelled is nothing if not radical. It is frankly one of the bravest efforts that I have seen in film in many years. Mr. Stein has taken great personal risk to make this film – I equate it to the risk that Mel Gibson took in producing The Passion of the Christ – but perhaps even more risky in that there will be a predictable and large pool of people who will respond with venom is both known and very large and the pool of strong supporters is uncertain. Regardless of what history says about this work, it will be a pivotal point in Mr. Stein’s career. The movie is nothing less than a thumb in the eye of the politically correct majority in the scientific community.

Militant atheist scientists will probably call it an attack on science in general, some will represent it as a propaganda piece supporting intelligent design (ID) and some will morph that into the assertion that it is a piece supporting creationism. There is some sliver of truth to the middle assertion – the movie does make some attempt to prop up ID, but interestingly enough I do not believe that this is what is at its heart. The film attacks something much deeper than that. I see two issues set squarely in the crosshairs of this film. The first is the loss of the value of truth, and the second is the loss of freedom of thought in academia. The film exposes a militant protectionist culture in academia in which the importance of truth and freedom are subordinated to the prevailing (and politically correct) view. It shines a bright light on the radical actions that those in power will take to protect their ideology from competing ideas. It then challenges us to challenge those in the establishment.

How should we respond to such a film? It is my great hope that we will do these three things:
1) Support the film commercially. Go see the movie – take your friends to it – write about it – talk about it – perform “guerilla marketing of the film at a personal level. I personally plan to see it again this coming weekend.
2) Once you have seen the movie – step up to it’s challenge. Be bold in standing for academic freedom in what ever institution you encounter be it you children’s grade school, the local college, or your doctoral program. Do not be silenced.
3) Challenge yourself to evaluate your sacred cows. What ideas do you carry that you have not critically evaluated. When someone challenges your sacred cow – are you prepared to defend it logically and intellectually? We should be.

1 comment:

Eutychus said...

I am less jocular today after our mini discussion on Expelled.

1.I have read many blog comments from the Atheist/Evolutionist group and I must say the hate oozed.
2.I read some from the “Christian” or “ID” side and was taken buy those who saw this as an approach to win souls for the Designer.
3.Someone saw ID as “Paul’s theology
4.There was criticism of the “Elements of the film connecting Darwin ism with the Holocaust.”

I think item 1 and 4 bring to mind the history of the Nazi movement particularly Vienna, Austria. Victor Frankl relates how the Nazi element pushed out the Jewish doctors and university professors because their thoughts were in conflict with the establishment. Underlying was that the Nazi’s wanted the prestigious positions that these Jews held. Any correlation with Stein’s logic? Hate played an awesome role.

I do remain stoic on note supporting the film by viewing it. I have a problem as a Christian supporting Hollywood and Ben Stein.