Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Dar-win or Dar-lose, Stein’s film not ‘intelligent’

Ben Stein, known for his hoity-toity game show, “Win
Ben Stein’s Money,” poses even bigger questions in his latest documentary,
“Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” Stein argues that America, the
country that has sacrificed so much for its freedom, has just begun to feel the
tightening of modern science’s grip on Intelligent Design. ID, which proposes
that life is so complex it must have an intelligent creator, is introduced as
the subject of this film, a subject that scholars, professors and philosophers
worldwide have lost their jobs over. Although Stein succeeds in bringing the
highly debated subject of ID to the table, he fails to effectively document why
its consideration and integration into the classroom would be beneficial to our

Stein’s disarming schlumpiness and unavoidable liver spots
add to his air of pseudo-intellectualism, but they also assist him when
conveying a documentary filled with overall cinematic cheese. At one point in
the movie, a statue of Darwin (depicted in a Darth Vader-like fashion) and
Stein engage in an epic minute-long stare down, both unflinching and totally
unaware that viewers are not impressed. An unsettling, almost comical, eerie
hymn then fills the background and confirms that Stein’s argument to
reintegrate ID into society’s way of thinking is only arguable under certain
cinematic ploys. Arguably, half the movie was filled with five-second snippets
from early educational films. The kind that feature the young boy Billy asking,
“Gee whiz, Mister, why am I so naive?”

Stein attempts to develop his argument by citing the denial
of tenure for scholars and philosophers at several top U.S. universities, like
Iowa State University. Additionally, Stein also argues that atheism is now
becoming a product of scientific advancement, which may be true in some senses.
As a grand statement, Stein links Hitler to Darwinian ideas, which is far too
easy to argue. After hearing 10 minutes of Stein’s nasally voice, his message
was clear: Intelligent Design should not be dispelled because, in the end, no
one actually knows how life came about. Travelling to a concentration camp or
waltzing through Darwin’s home still isn’t going to help further anyone’s
understanding of this.


So, where did Stein go wrong? We all know he is an
intelligent man, but it’s clear that he just asked the wrong handful of people
the wrong questions in hopes of adhering to his flimsy argument that has ID
sitting alongside modern sciences. The film is deep and engaging merely because
of the mocking musical cues and exciting — however inappropriate —
cinematography. Wait until a rainy day when this movie is available On-Demand,
read a few chapters in your torn-up philosophy book and then maybe consider
watching Stein’s “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.”


2 stars out of 5

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