Ben Stein is prominently featured in an upcoming documentary called “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” where he takes a stab a neo-darwinism, and seeks to bring increased legitimacy to the intelligent design camp. The creation vs. evolution debate is of course nothing new to Mormons, as the early and mid 20th century saw a good deal of postulation and debate on this matter among LDS Church leaders. Typically, Mormons seem generally untroubled by the issue, often finding resolution with “religion tells us why, science tells us how.” Mormons tend to be willing to accept the fossil record and the geological data all while acknowledging the role of a Creator, but without apologizing for the Genesis account. I perceive that latter-day saints figuratively sit back, munch on popcorn, and enjoy the show as the young-earth-creationist-evangelicals duke it out with the secular darwinists.
Ben Stein however, finds himself in a unique category. From what I gather, he is Jewish, but he is not pushing any religious agenda nor is he sponsored by or endorsing any Christian group or creationist museum. In fact, what I see as most significant about his endeavor transcends the creation/evolution debate entirely: he is dealing with the issue of academic integrity and authoritative suppression of information.
In an age where the increased accessibility of information is playing a more and more significant role in people’s religious experiences, there is a growing tendency to resist and resent the suppression or manipulation of relevant information, especially when that suppression happens on an authoritative level. What Ben Stein is attempting to expose is that the tables are now turned, and its the secular camp that is now guilty of making the conclusions first, and cherry picking the evidence next.
Please take a moment and watch the trailer for the film:
Here are also some links to other media appearances Ben has made:
What I find most admirable is that he openly admits that he may be completely wrong in his views on intelligent design, and even goes as far as to laud Darwin’s theory as brilliant for its time (referring to the O’ Reiley clip). But more than pushing just another theory, he is sticking up for those who have been ostracized, alienated, ridiculed, or otherwise “expelled,” for challenging the established orthodoxy that darwinism has attained in the scientific community. He apparently has a large body of evidence that demonstrates that scientists who question darwinism, or explore/expose the uncomfortable gaps and holes in the theory are summarily discredited and written off as scientific apostates, as it were, who no longer have a place in the scientific community.
In this situation, the parallels to institutional religion should be fairly obvious. The great irony, of course, is that now its the religionists who have a growing case against the academics in terms of closed mindedness, denial, defensiveness, silencing, and suppression.
What can we learn from all this? If we are exceptionally confident in the correctness of our own world views, do we welcome or shun differing views?