BreakPoint Blog

Stein Effectively Torments Intelligentsia

Expelled Expelled might not have been the most moving documentary I saw last week, but for a film that received an astounding 9 percent on the Tomato-meter, it was an overachiever, I'd say. Subtler and cleverer than the Michael Moore rants to which it will no doubt be compared, Ben Stein's defense of intelligent design education offers a biting (but not generally sensational) critique.

The movie's editorial commentary comes largely in the form of newsreel and black-and-white movie clips that amusingly make some profound points. Adding that to interviews with many of the big-name supporters of intelligent design, the film is well-constructed and appropriately paced, and it presents the foundational philosophical, scientific, and logical arguments in the debate.

Far more fascinating, though, are the interactions with some of ID's prominent opponents, who are given plenty of airtime to present their cases. It's an agenda-driven documentary, of course, but the soundbites are way too long to be simply discarded as editing sleights of hand. I can see why Richard Dawkins hates this movie so much -- did the God Delusion author really suggest that maybe intelligent aliens could have planted the first organisms on our planet? If anything, he must wish that the producers had edited out more of his contribution.

In the interviews with Dawkins and others, Expelled effectively reveals that at its most fundamental levels -- particularly regarding the origin of life -- evolutionary theory drifts into a question of philosophy or, ironically, faith.


LeeQuod, Cecil and I have some things in common, though he would vehemently deny it. I have a picture hanging on my wall that says FIGHT INGORANCE My lifelong aspiration --- to be an idiot-savant. I’m happy to report I’m halfway there. (Raspberries also accepted). -- -- ( ^ )
Rolley, I just figured you were referring to some less-well-known ripoff of Cecil Adams. But here, have some ketchup... ( )
Hmmm, OK. But please note that you and your colleagues often lose us "smart kids", too; The Point can be (as I was saying) like a mixer for the MIT School of Science and Vassar English...
Subtlety, thy name is legion. (Referring to the blog title again). I’m still wondering how long I’ll manage to quote from the Dictionary of Obscure Phrases and Epigrams before someone pelts me with a tomato. Some evangelicals tirelessly improvise. o o ( ~>)
Alas, that's not it at all; I'm just hanging around the smart kids wishing I could understand what they're talking about!
Gina wrote: "LeeQuod, I didn't even know what you were talking about at first." Which seems to be our default condition, G; your most common reply to one of my comments has been "Gee, LeeQuod, I never thought of it that way." I interpret that to be the blog equivalent of the blank looks and embarrassed, arch-eyebrowed smiles that I often get when talking to someone face-to-face. One of the challenges of blogging, and especially of being the blog administrator, is that it's difficult to politely excuse oneself and carry your cocktail to a discussion elsewhere in the room. (I imagine instant messaging allows the equivalent of "Do you see that strange guy over there I was just talking to?") But that's OK; Travis and I and any other warped individuals can have the Easter Egg hors d'oeuvres all to ourselves. ;-)
LeeQuod, I didn't even know what you were talking about at first. Travis is most definitely the clever one here! :-)
LeeQuod - I am just grateful that someone out there finds these Easter eggs and gets my warped imagination!
RottenTomatoes is a great website, but they do have a habit of rating my favorite movies rather badly.
Gina, who gets the bonus for coming up with these clever titles - the bloggers themselves, or you? Travis doesn't explicitly mention SETI, but sometimes his writing is subtle...