I’ve been watching a somewhat furious debate develop around a movie called Expelled. It’s a movie that claims to be a fair look at how the Intelligent Design crowd is being kept out of the learning system by the academic and scientific elite. Now, considering that the film links belief in evolution directly leading to something like, oh, the Nazis exterminating the Jews, I think we can toss aside any notion of a lack of bias.
Bias in a documentary is not inherently a bad think thing. All the best documentaries have a point of view they are trying to get across. It’s how the express it that is of concern. And while I do not feel I.D. is appropriate for the science class room…it’s a philosophy. It’s not about the process how, it’s about the who behind the process.
Well, let me step back a moment…it’s been embraced by Christians who have seen it as “proof” against “evil” evolution. See, SCIENCE PROVES THERE IS A GOD. The thing is, according to strict I.D.? The designer could be anything. It does not have to be a supernatural creator at all. According to the basic idea of I.D., the designer could be a “superior alien race.” But lets face it, most people pushing for I.D. to be taught are doing so with a religious basis for what it “proves.”
The debate, however, is not so much about the movie as it is about a particular event. The event in question was an “invite only” showing of a rough cut of the film. Well, you could sign up for an invitation on the website. Which Richard Dawkins and P.Z. Myers attended and P.Z. Myers was apparently thrown out of. What is interesting is that the controversy is exactly how it all played out. Lots of he said/he said stuff.
I do think the producers do themselves a disservice with this, as it makes them appear to be trying to stack their audience deck. Plus, they have done screening expressly for religious groups-lending credence to the idea that they are promoting creationism, rather than actually taking a balanced and reasoned look at the issue. Now, they might be doing that, and so their decisions and movie trailers would be giving a false impression. Because the trailers make it about how the academics are trying to keep God out of the schools.
I also think that the anti-I.D. side is doing itself a disservice. The reaction has been strong. In some cases there are fair and reasonable questions being asked. But in many cases there are aggressive tactics that are more about the art of the put down than anything else. Which is odd, considering it is just supposed to be the Christians who attack people that disagree with them. Hate mail does not help one’s side, especially vicious hate mail. It makes you look, at best, like a self righteous jerk. Have a reasoned and passioned debate. That’s a good think. Be witty! Be confident! Just don’t be an ass. It will do wonders, believe me. Plus, if the other person is an ass? You look calm and awesome.