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A Review of Expelled: The Movie

Expelled shows how the scientific establishment—with help from the media, the courts, and “educators”—tries to suppress all doubts about Darwinian evolution.

Lee Duigon
  • Lee Duigon,
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Let’s say it right up front: go and see this movie.

Why? Because you need to know that much of “science” isn’t as “scientific” as you thought. It’s not science at all, but rather a tool for imposing a materialist worldview on all mankind. And that’s dangerous.

It brought me back to my college biology course, whose grand finale was the presentation of a vision of total control, by scientific planners, over every aspect of human life.

Someone asked, “But what about individual freedom and dignity?” To which the instructor answered, “Those are outmoded concepts that will have to be engineered out of the system.”

It’s only gotten worse since then, and this film is a powerful warning as to just how bad it is.

Suppressing the Debate

Expelled shows how the scientific establishment—with help from the media, the courts, and “educators”—tries to suppress all doubts about Darwinian evolution. Those who voice such doubts are punished: “expelled” from their positions, blacklisted, mocked, and universally excoriated as “religious fundamentalists” and “creationists,” dirty words in today’s intellectual parlance. You don’t have to espouse creationism, or promote Intelligent Design theory, to get the treatment. Even the mildest dissent can get you drummed out of the corps. A statement as tepid as “I don’t think Darwinian theory can account for everything that we observe in nature” is enough to get you banned.

These are not encyclopedia salesmen or barbers who are being held up as ignoramuses. They are scientists with Ph.D.’s in various fields. The film’s star and cowriter, Ben Stein, interviews them, and they tell their stories. Biologists, astronomers, engineers, medical doctors—they all tell the same story. Say one word critical of Darwinism, or even entertain the possibility that God is the origin of life, and you’re toast.

“I do claim that frank and open discussion of the data, and of the issues, is being suppressed,” Michael Crichton writes. “… Under the circumstances, any scientist who has doubts understands clearly that they will be wise to mute their expression.”[1]

Crichton was writing about “global warming,” but the same holds true for scientists who question Darwinian evolution.

It does seem strange that Darwin’s theory, now 150 years old, should be the only relic of 19th-century science immune to being superseded. We know infinitely more today than Darwin ever suspected about cellular morphology, biochemistry, genetics and DNA, and more. But Darwinists cling bitterly to their theory no matter what else is discovered.

Stein interviews many defenders of Darwinism, including a one-on-one session with Richard Dawkins, the Goliath of today’s militant atheism. Their attitude is anything but “scientific.” They are angry, scornful, dismissive, and, yes, bitter. They are mortally offended that anyone should disagree with them, or even question them. Anyone who does so is an “idiot,” no matter how many Ph.D.’s he might happen to have.

Dawkins, who derides Christians and says atheists should be called “brights” because they’re so much smarter than religious people, has been heard to complain that Ben Stein duped him, and that he never would have granted the interview if he’d known Stein was “a creationist front.” If he’s so bright, why was he so easily bamboozled?

Stein plays Dawkins like a cello, easily getting Mr. Bright to admit to the possibility that space aliens—themselves the product of materialistic, Darwinian evolution—might have “intelligently designed” life on Earth. Unable to answer the question, “How did life begin?” Dawkins can only take refuge in fairy tales: in his case, the kind of poppycock that can be heard at any UFO convention. But nobody’s calling those people “bright.”

The Heart of the Matter

At the heart of Expelled is a contention that Darwinism was a critical ingredient in the worst evils of the 20th century, Nazism and communism. Stein takes us on a visit to Hadamar, a mental hospital in Germany where doctors and nurses systematically murdered thousands of “unfit” individuals in the name of eugenics—the “science” of controlling the future evolution of the human race by weeding out “inferior” individuals and races.

Darwinists scream bloody murder if you blame them for the atrocities of the Third Reich. But there is a reason why they should be blamed, which R. J. Rushdoony explains in The Mythology of Science.[2]

“For all forms of evolutionary thinking, God is irrelevant. If He exists, He has nothing essential to do with a world which has evolved out of its own inner forces and is thus a law unto itself” (p. 27).

“[B]ecause there is no God, there is no ultimately true law, no absolute concept of right and wrong. No God means no law, and no law means that nothing is a crime, and hence all acts are equally valid in terms of morality …” (p. 28).

“[E]very experiment, to be valid, requires total control of all factors. Hence, the scientific society must be fully totalitarian, otherwise it will not work, nor will it be scientific … The government and providence of God are replaced by the government and providence of man, and the divine predestination gives way to predestination by scientific planners” (p. 30).

We have been led to the heart of the matter. The Darwinists Ben Stein talks to all admit proudly to being atheists, and most of them say their studies in evolution brought them there. They emphatically deny not only God, but also free will and meaning itself.

If there is no meaning in the universe, no God to hand down immutable moral laws, by what standard can any atheist condemn the goings-on at Hadamar? Why not gas the feeble-minded? If God does not define morality, man must. And the man who gets to make his definition stick is the man with the gun.

Writing about eugenics, Crichton says, “All in all, the research, legislation, and molding of public opinion surrounding the theory went on for almost half a century. Those who opposed the theory were shouted down and called reactionary, blind to reality, or just plain ignorant. But in hindsight, what is surprising is that so few people objected.”[3]

Maybe they were afraid of being expelled.

But we aren’t gassing the feeble-minded today. That was just an aberration, wasn’t it?

All right, go ahead—find a Darwinist who doesn’t support unlimited abortion “rights,” euthanasia, the “right” to suicide, or the legitimization of sodomy. Says the Bible, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12). These people are in love with death and with “lifestyle choices” that lead to early death. The ultimate pipe dream of this perverse worldview is the total extinction of the human race, as rhapsodized over in a recent bestseller, The World Without Us.[4] Or think back to 2006, when Dr. Eric Pianka of the University of Texas publicly wished for 90 percent of humanity to be killed off by a plague—and received a standing ovation for it.[5] What percentage of his audience, do you suppose, was Darwinist?

Atheists can squirm on the point of this needle all they like, but they can’t get off.

Intelligent Design

The scientific purge revealed by Expelled is aimed mostly at scientists who are suspected of harboring notions of “Intelligent Design.” Darwinists routinely equate Intelligent Design with Biblical creationism. They do this because they’re too close-minded to know or care about the difference; besides, branding ID as “religion” helps them to win lawsuits.

However, they’re wrong.

Intelligent Design theory finds that the incredible complexities of nature point to … well, an intelligent design. Living cells, the solar system, the human eye—it’s all far too complex to have “evolved” by blind chance and “natural selection.” The evidence inevitably leads one to postulate an intelligent designer.

ID, therefore, is an inductive or empirical approach to God. Its starting point is the natural world, “the evidence” we can observe with our senses and our instruments. From this basis, ID theorists reason upward.

It is the exact opposite of our position as Biblical creationists. Our reason is deductive, not inductive. We presuppose the existence of God as revealed to us in Scripture, and with God as our starting point, we reason downward, not upward.

The problem with ID is, simply, that it will not quite carry you all the way to God. You never run out of “steps” to interpose between creation and creator. That’s why Dawkins can grant the possibility of space aliens intelligently designing life on Earth: it leaves him free to presuppose a totally materialistic origin for the aliens.

Nevertheless, the ID movement has helped make two valuable contributions.

First, ID scientists have helped to expose the inadequacies and fallacies of Darwinism. ID is a stone in Darwinism’s shoe, and Darwinism limps because of it. Judge ID’s effectiveness by the intensity of the anger, scorn, and vindictiveness it has aroused among the scientific establishment. If ID were not pooping the Darwinists’ party, Darwinists would not be persecuting its proponents and Expelled would not have been made. (Darwinists despise Young Earth Creationists, too; but because ID claims to be “science,” and many of his practitioners hold doctorates in various sciences, there is an element of competition involved.)

Second, there are individuals—former atheist Lee Strobel, for instance—whose unbelief has been shaken by the ID movement, and some who have moved beyond ID to full belief in God. Who knows what God will use as a trigger to call a secular gentile to the faith? So if ID jars some out of their Darwinist delusion, it has accomplished something positive.

But we aren’t urging you to see Expelled because we want you to adopt ID and stop there. Nor are we happy with the way some of Stein’s interviewees protest that “ID is not religion” and its hypothetical “intelligent designer” not necessarily God. Either they are just being coy, or else they’re stuck halfway to God and can’t move forward.

Who is the designer, if not God? To our friends in the ID movement, we say, Complete your journey! Boldly proclaim belief in God as the designer and creator of all things.

If you don’t, you might someday find yourselves lined up with Richard Dawkins and his very bright space aliens.

Go See It!

Expelled is not great cinematic art, but it’s good enough to do the job, and it deserves the support of a Christian audience. The sequence featuring Hadamar is especially powerful: those images may haunt you for a while. The thought of dying in a place like that, murdered by your own doctors …

The film’s overall message is entirely convincing. If Darwinism were not a sham, if it were not a scientific fig leaf for a perverse and satanic view of life (whose leading adherents, many of them, would dethrone God and install themselves in His place), the Darwinists would not be cracking down so hard on doubters. They would not be clinging to a 150-year-old scientific relic, cobwebs and all, whose only contribution to history has been to provide a pseudoscientific rationale for tyranny and selfishness.

If Darwin had never existed, Nazis and communists would have had to invent him—and his theory.

[1] Michael Crichton, State of Fear, “Why Politicized Science is Dangerous,” Appendix I, (New York: HarperCollins, 2004), 579. This novel, exposing “global warming” as a scientific hoax, makes points that apply equally to Darwinism. The appendix is especially telling.

[2] R. J. Rushdoony, The Mythology of Science (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1967; 2001 edition).

[3] Crichton, 576.

Lee Duigon
  • Lee Duigon

Lee is the author of the Bell Mountain Series of novels and a contributing editor for our Faith for All of Life magazine. Lee provides commentary on cultural trends and relevant issues to Christians, along with providing cogent book and media reviews.

Lee has his own blog at

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