Expelled Doesn’t Flop, Unfortunately

Great Apes and BabyExpelled: No Intelligence Allowed unfortunately didn’t completely flop over the weekend, as the documentary earned $1.2 million on Friday for an estimated weekend box office gross of $3.7 million (according to Box Office Prophets).

Why did I want Expelled to flop? The Ben Stein documentary is apparently about allowing the teaching of intelligent design (i.e. creationism) into schools. I haven’t seen the movie, so I hate that I’m jumping to conclusions the way that religious groups jump on films they think they might find distasteful, but so goes it. If the movie is about free speech and whether creationism should be allowed in public schools on those grounds is one thing, the marketing seems to be catering to the religious group, which makes me think otherwise.

I’m sorry, but evolution is only a theory because it hasn’t been completely proven – it is not a theory because there are glaring holes in it. I’ve had discussions with otherwise intelligent people who claim that evolution isn’t real, but it is the most common sense, obvious thing when you think about it. If I had kids, there would be no way I would allow my children to learn that it’s a possibility that we just popped into existence one day in our current form. It’s just prepostrous.

At the same time, I would encourage them to have an intelligent debate about one versus the other, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about teaching creationism in schools. The only reason creationism has been renamed “intelligent design” is to make it sound like it is halfway intelligent.

In other Friday box office news, Forbidden Kingdom will steal the weekend with an estimated $20 million, the best ever opening for Jet Li and the best non-Rush Hour opening for Jackie Chan. Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which I saw last night, will make approximately $16 million. 88 Minutes died on arrival, and will earn about $6 million.

By Erik Samdahl
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  • Luke Baggins

    I don’t think there is a problem with teaching creationism in school as long as it’s taught as a theory. I think evolution should be taught in the same way, with more of an open-mind. If the teacher teaches either as a fact I think it’s wrong. I’m 16 right now and I would love for more controversial subjects to be taught in school to become more well-rounded.

    I understand what this movie is trying to say and to a certain extent I agree with it. Although I think they’re approaching the problem in the wrong way.

  • Luke, I generally agree with your approach – though personally I think evolution is beyond questioning to any large degree. It can be approached as a theory, but to me it’s comparing George Washington to Santa Claus. One is real, the other is not.

  • For the reviewer:

    Your quite right that evolution (or natural selection) is a fact. ID proponents are not questioning whether creatures are adapting to a changing environment. The problem is that physics and other observations point to the reality that this change is not an ‘evolution’ in the upward sense, but a ‘de-volution’ which is either horizontal or downhill in effect.

    It does seem inconceivable that life appeared de novo. But many things seemed inconceivable to man at different points in history. In these cases, the problem was the perception taught by the society.

    I don’t mind people being skeptical, as I am a skeptic myself. But we must gaurd ourselves against being cynical, and pursue truth with endurance and patience.

    I also agree that ID is creationism, and that the proponents of ID need not conceal their true gospel with ‘scientific language’. However, it may be necessary to get the attention of many who write off Biblical accuracy a priori.

    The fact is that scientific thought really culminated and became a powerful force because of Biblical principles dominating Western Europe, and that is a very interesting reality in itself.

    The term ‘science’ is relatively new, but has it’s roots in the revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries which transformed ‘knowledge’ (the definition of science) into something reserved only for a particular philosophical bent.

    Expelled only touches the surface. It tries to reinvigorate people’s sense of intellectual freedom, so as to liberate them to look into these matters without fear of being ostricized. But ostricized they will be…

    Sincerely, Rob

  • Hi Rob, thanks for the lengthy comment. I don’t think I could possibly describe things better than that.

  • tab

    You say that creationism has become inteiiigent design because it sounds half way intelligent, but that olny shows your ignorance of the issue. It is still called creationism, and it was changed by evolutionist, you half whitt!! You also say that you are open to debate, but who in there right mind would debate with someone so closed minded? I am open to hear any veiw on the matter of evolution (and under terms not of your) would listen with open ears. But you sir are so apparently against the matter in your writting, that I am sure any attempt of debate with you would would cause your head to burst due to your inate need to feel superior. The fact of the matter is that BOTH of these topics are theories, and who are you to say that you are more intelligent for chosing the evolution theory? I actually saw Expelled: No intelligence allowed, and it was a great movie. Not only did it convey the forced imaginary teachings of evolution in its ture form, but it simply stated that if we are going to teach our children fiction anyway, we should be able to choose what they are learning in the classroom. I am open to debate, and any input that you have I will read carefully so that I myself can filter out the stupid!!!

  • Hi TB,

    I have no allusions that I am someway open minded to creationism and religious beliefs in general – I’m not. If you are open to both sides, that’s great. And I can sit down and have a civilized conversation about it, but for the sake of evoking opinions such as yours, I have to take one side or another.

    The biggest problem I have is that I don’t believe creationism (aka intelligent design) and evolution are both seen as theories. Evolution is seen as a theory where creationism is either “that is how it happened” or “there is no way it happened that way.” Either way, creationism has many more “absolute” proponents than evolution has, because by the strictest definition evolution is still a theory (even though there is no evidence to disprove it) – whereas creationism has been embedded into people’s minds for thousands of years, despite many pieces of evidence against it.

    As someone who relies strongly on logic, I take issue with a “theory” such as creationism that has so many holes in it. It only takes one contradiction to disprove a theory, and creationism has tons of them. On a conceptual level, I think creationism is fine (the seven days or whatever are actually millions of years) – but that’s not quite what we’re talking about here.

    To me, evolution is as clear as a blue sky. I don’t get how people can go to the zoo, look at apes and not see a striking resemblance that we are somehow related to these people. Or that people these days can still believe that we just popped into existence less than 10,000 years ago, when there is so much evidence that humans have been around for longer than that. And I’ve even had a friend who called dinosaur bones hoaxes. I just don’t get it, and I don’t think sheltered kinds of beliefs like that should be taught in public schools, or anywhere.

    I’m glad you liked the movie, though.