Ben Stein, the Nixon speechwriter immortalized by his acting role as a boring schoolteacher in the 1986 movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” is returning to movie academia in a documentary about “Intelligent Design” creationism. “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” sets out to expose what Stein calls “widespread suppression and entrenched discrimination that is spreading in our institutions, laboratories and most importantly, in our classrooms” in the form of the general rejection of ID—an outgrowth of creation science based on the premise that life is so complex it must have been created by God directly rather than through an evolutionary process—as a valid scientific theory.
“Expelled” paints ID advocates as the “rebels” of a “new scientific movement” doing battle against atheists and a world without morality. Like an earlier video produced by the late D. James Kennedy, “Expelled” attempts to link Darwin’s theory of evolution with Hitler and Nazi Germany; the film will feature shots of concentration camps to make that point.
While “Expelled” isn’t likely to advance acceptance of “scientific” study of the supernatural or move ID from the scholarly fringe, it will probably find a welcome audience among anti-evolution activists who look to ID as a back-door way to put creationism back in schools. The marketer who helped make “The Passion of the Christ” a blockbuster by promoting directly through churches is hoping to work the same magic on “Expelled,” so the film’s makers can hope for a constituency reenergized to engage the political debate, if not the scientific debate. That, after all, is the point of ID.