“The Expelled Controversy”: a film analysis

Jeffrey Schloss, professor of biology at Westmont College, has written what is probably the definitive review of the new film on Intelligent Design, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. His essay, “The Expelled Controversy: Overcoming or Raising Walls of Division?” is a remarkably fair and informed discussion of the issues raised by the movie. Early on he writes the following:
If it is important to avoid the fallacy of false extremes, it is also important to avoid the fallacy of the supposedly golden median. Maybe we need, as lifetime Darwin critic Tom Bethell claims in his movie review, to “reject what might be called the diplomatic option, [which] seeks to keep everyone happy” by seeing reconcilable truths on both sides. For in so doing “it puts diplomacy before truth.” It is of course possible that one side is just plain wrong, not only in claims but also in tactics. For this reason, it is crucial both to hear sympathetically and to assess carefully the film’s claims. It is especially important for Christians to do this, for the internal coherence of our faith and the integrity of our social witness are at stake.
Throughout the rest of his review, Schloss accomplishes precisely what he describes here: a sympathetic and careful assessment of the film’s claims. He has provided thoughtful Christians with an example of how to engage in a debate over ideas. Where the film opts for oversimplification and eschews argumentation, Schloss keeps the film accountable for where it fudges the truth and presumes the validity of controversial ideas. Here is the outline of his paper:
I. Seeking an Open Inquiry
II. Is Evolution Wedded to Atheism?
III. Do “anti-science bigots stifle science”?
IV. Did Darwin Lead to Hitler?
V. Breaking Down or Putting up Walls?
Click here to read more. For a much shorter but still worthwhile review of the film by a Christian, see the article by Peter T. Chattaway.