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Ben Stein Provokes the Liberal Wrath

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              THE CONSERVATIVE REVIEW   
                   May 6, 2008
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Ben Stein Provokes the Liberal Wrath
By Phyllis Schlafly

Ben Stein is known to many as an actor on Comedy Central. 
But the funniest part about his recent movie "Expelled" 
is not any clever lines spoken by Stein but the hysterical 
way liberals are trying to discourage people from seeing 
it.

Stein's critics fail to effectively refute anything in 
"Expelled"; they just use epithets to ridicule it and 
hope they can make it go away. However, it won't go away; 
even Scientific American, which labeled the movie 
"shameful," concedes that it cannot be ignored. 

The movie is about how scientists who dare to criticize 
Darwinism or discuss the contrary theory called intelligent 
design are expelled, fired, denied tenure, blacklisted, 
and bitterly denounced. Academic freedom doesn't extend 
to this issue.

The message of Stein's critics comes through loud and 
clear. They don't want anybody to challenge Darwinian 
orthodoxy or suggest that intelligent design might be 
an explanation of the origin of life. 

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Stein, who serves as his own narrator in the movie, is 
very deadpan about it all. He doesn't try to convince 
the audience that Darwinism is a fraud, or that God 
created the world, or even that some unidentified 
intelligent design might have started life on Earth.

Stein merely shows the intolerance of the universities, 
the government, the courts, the grant-making foundations 
and the media, and their determination to suppress any 
mention of intelligent design.

The only question posed by the movie is why, oh why, is 
there such a deliberate, consistent, widespread, vind-
ictive effort to silence all criticism of dogmatic 
Darwinism or discussion of alternate theories of the 
origin of life? Stein interviews scientists who were 
blacklisted, denied grants and ostracized in the academic 
community because they dared to write or speak the 
forbidden words. 

Liberals are particularly upset because the movie 
identifies Darwinism, rather than evolution, as the 
sacred word that must be isolated from criticism. 
But that semantic choice makes good sense because 
Darwinism is easily defined by Darwin's own writings, 
whereas the word evolution is subject to different 
and even contrary definitions.

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The truly funny part of the movie is Stein's interview 
with Richard Dawkins, whose best-selling book "The God 
Delusion" (Mariner Books, $15.95) established this 
Englishman as the world's premier atheist. Dawkins is 
a leading advocate of the theory that all life evolved 
from a single beginning in an ancient mud puddle, 
perhaps after being struck by lightning.

Putting aside the issue of evolving, how did life begin 
in the first place? Under Stein's questioning, Dawkins 
finally said it is possible that life might have evolved 
on Earth after the arrival of a more highly developed 
being from another planet.

Aren't aliens from outer space the stuff of science 
fiction? And how was the other-planet alien created? 
According to Dawkins, life must have just spontaneously 
evolved on another planet, of course without God.

Stein spent two years traveling the world to gather 
material for this movie. He interviewed scores of 
scientists and academics who say they were retaliated 
against because of questioning Darwin's theories.

Stein interviewed Dr. Richard Sternberg, a biologist 
who lost his position at the prestigious Smithsonian 
Institution after he published a peer-reviewed article 
that mentioned intelligent design. Other academics who 
said they were victims of the anti-intelligent design 
campus police included astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez, 
denied tenure at Iowa State University, and Caroline 
Crocker, who lost her professorship at George Mason 
University. 

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Stein dares to include some filming at the death camps 
in Nazi Germany as a backdrop for interviews that explain 
Darwin's considerable influence on Adolf Hitler and his 
well-known atrocities. The Darwin-Hitler connection was 
not a Stein discovery; Darwin's influence on Hitler's 
political worldview, and Hitler's rejection of the sacred-
ness of human life, is acknowledged in standard biographies 
of Hitler.

Stein also addresses how Darwin's theories influenced one 
of the U.S.'s most embarrassing periods, the eugenics fad 
of the early 20th century. Thousands of Americans were 
legally sterilized as physically or mentally unfit.

Mandatory sterilization based on Darwin's theories was 
even approved by the U.S. Supreme Court, with Justice 
Oliver Wendell Holmes writing his famous line, "Three 
generations of imbeciles are enough." Stein also reminds 
us that Margaret Sanger was a eugenicist who wanted to 
eliminate the races she believed were inferior.

Stein's message is that the attack on freedom of inquiry 
is anti-science, anti-American, and anti-the whole concept 
of learning. His dramatization should force the public, 
and maybe even academia, to address this extraordinary 
intolerance of diversity. 

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