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In Defense of Intelligent Design?

April 6th, 2008. By Dave Oei. 4,125 views.
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Ben Stein, ExpelledWhat do Ben Stein and Intelligent Design (ID) have in common? More than a little bit, apparently. Ben’s newest movie to be released later this month is titled, “Expelled. No Intelligence Allowed.” And while I haven’t seen it, I’ve read a good number of reviews from mostly Intelligent Design proponents who generally all agree on it’s merits as a fine documentary.

The premise is simple. Various faculty at various universities or other academic institutions were allegedly forced from their positions after attempting to or actually putting forth a positive opinion on the concept of intelligent design. The movie tries to show an apparent disregard for intellectual freedom and a staunch close-mindedness perpetrated by the intelligentsia.

In my mind, this sounds like fairly interesting stuff.

First off, I originally thought the inclusion of Ben Stein meant this was another National Lampoon in the making. But no. A quick review of it’s extended trailer shows instead that Ben Stein is indeed serious – He’s smart, fairly charismatic, no doubt a good spokesperson for their cause. Perhaps the only difficult part I had to grapple with was the idea that Ben Stein is a creationist. But, many of my good friends and immediate family are, so, no big deal eh?

Yet, there’s a difference between spreading dogma in a place of religious worship versus a publicly-funded educational setting. I have no problems with what people believe, especially with regard to religion so long as those beliefs and the actions which may follow do no harm to myself, the public as a whole, or in a familiar term, thy neighbor. So if people want to believe in intelligent design or creationism or that the world was spawned off the back of a huge turtle, so be it.

But the attempt to turn ID into an area worthy of scientific academic study is just too far fetched. Perhaps it would be much less so if ID proponents put forth a series of systematic observations and testable ideas, the same standard held to every other branch of science. Perhaps it would receive more credence if such observations and experiments also led to a set of principals or theories which could in turn lead to a series of verifiable predictions on the outcomes of future events or other experiments.

I’m guessing that asking that much is akin to blasphemy amongst ID circles. But in fairness, why should the same rigor and standard set for the other fields of academia be watered down to accommodate ID? If ID folks want the same level of respect received in other academic circles, they’ll have to work just as hard to make it happen. Unfortunately, making a movie and complaining doesn’t make the cut.

Photo: Washington and Lee University


  1. Patient Fan
    April 6th, 2008 at 21:32 | #1


    Man, this guy was the bomb in Ferris Bueller.

  2. Dave Oei
    April 7th, 2008 at 00:52 | #2

    Yes, no doubt, it’s a classic.

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