I attended my first screening last night. My friends the Howards and Murphys, who run the ship over at Homeschooling Today, invited my wife and me, as well as the lovely and talented Wayne and Tami Beebe, to run over to Charlotte to see Expelled. The movie will be released in mid-April. Hosted by the multi-talented Mr. Ben Stein (he of Ferris Bueller fame, who was also a regular columnist with the American Spectator magazine, host of the gameshow, Win Ben Stein’s Money, and is also a world class thinker on matters of economics, banking and public policy. In Expelled he uses his many talents to look at the problem of the loss of academic freedom for those who embrace the notion of Intelligent Design. The story is well told. One way you can tell is that you walk away seeing the institutional power brokers in the scientific realm as being pinheads in lab coats. We are even given a taste of wisdom from Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion. The movie is well paced, and balances humor, pathos and the giving of information well. It is a welcome counterbalance to the typicalHollywoodfolderol we have been receiving from the likes of Al Gore and Michael Moore. I hope you’ll go see it.
That said, I came away if anyone really got the point. I don’t know the motives of the producers, but the movie fell between two horses, on the one hand not focusing sufficiently on the academic freedom angle, on the other failing to really show just how silly Darwinism is. The two kiss, in the film, however, as you see the Darwinists playing dirty pool to maintain their monopoly. Intelligent design scholars are unhappy and angry to have been denied tenure at major universities, and to have lost out on sundry grants. Darwinist priests are unhappy and angry that Intelligent design scholars keep trying to earn tenure and grants. I, on the other hand, am unhappy and angry that these two groups are fighting over money stolen from my pocket. Were there no government institutions of higher learning, were there no government grants, there would have been no movie, and there would have been no controversy. Good conservative people, instead of making that point, are complaining that they’re not getting a big enough slice of the government pie.
We went through much the same process when it briefly looked as if the President were going to lead evangelicals to the Promised land of the federal trough. The faith based initiative, like the failure of evangelicals to get behind Ron Paul, was proof positive that evangelicals are as socialistic as the next guy, even when the next guy is Ron Sider, Tony Campolo or Jim Wallis. We have no principles, just an overwhelming urge to get to the table, and pick up the scraps.
The intelligent design crowd has much to commend them. They’re smart, and often are successfully thinking God’s thoughts after Him. What concerns me, however, is how much they are like evangelicals. Indeed, intelligent design is to creationism what evangelicalism is to fundamentalism. We may accept basically the same creed, but the former adds on a refusal to be scorned by the world, a longing to be respected by the heathen. One wag even defined an evangelical this way, “An evangelical is a fundamentalist who is willing to say to the liberal, “I will call you brother, if you will call me scholar.” Would that we would instead shake their dust off our feet. The incessant clamoring for respect, in both instances, is the most telling harbinger of failure and apostasy. Just look at our “Christian” colleges. Isn’t there anyone out there willing to quietly suffer persecution, in order to be blessed of God? Anyone? Anyone?