58. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (2008) [Rated PG for thematic material, some disturbing images and brief smoking.]
summary from imdb.com:
Ben Stein examines the issue of academic freedom and decides that there is none when it comes to the debate over intelligent design.
directed by: Nathan Frankowski
documentary hosted by: Ben Stein
Ben Stein: But will eradicating religion really lead to a modern utopia? Hmm. Let me try to imagine that. And let’s let history be our guide.
David Berlinski: In part, I think Matthew Arnold put his hands on it when he spoke about um, the withdrawal of faith. There is a connection between a society that has at least a minimal commitment to certain kinds of transcendental values and what human beings permit themselves to do one to the other.
Stein: That got me thinking. What other societies have used Darwinism to trump all other authorities, including religion? As a Jew, my mind leapt to one regime in particular.
Berlinski: The connection between Hitler and Darwin is of course historically a difficult connection because they were separated by a good many years. One was English, one was German. Nonetheless, if you open Mein Kampf and read it… especially if you can read it in German… the correspondence between Darwinian ideas and Nazi ideas just leaps from the page. Of course you have to add every historical caution. Not everyone who read Darwin became a Nazi, obviously not. No one is making that case. Darwinism is not a sufficient condition for a phenomenon like Nazism, but I think it’s certainly a necessary one.
Stein: This was a connection I had to explore personally.
Filmstrip narrator: American officers arrive at a Nazi institution seized by first army troops. Under the guise of an insane asylum, this has been the headquarters for the systematic murder…
Stein: So, what is this place?
Uta George, director of the Hadamar Memorial: During the Second World War, 15,000 people were killed here.
Stein: Why were they killed?
George: They were killed because they were people with handicaps.
Stein: Why kill them? What’s the point of killing them?
George: People who were not able to work, people who were not able to live by themselves, that they were “useless eaters“
Stein: “useless eaters“
George: and “life unworthy of living.” This idea grew up in the ‘20s, so long before national socialism, biologists, anthropologists, they thought that maybe mankind could… or the government could interfere into the growth of the population.
Stein: I see.
George: And they had the… utopia?
George: utopia… that they would have a society without illness and without handicap.
translation of propaganda film: All that is non-viable in nature invariably perishes. We humans have transgressed the law of natural selection in the last decades. Not only have we supported inferior life-forms… we have encouraged their propagation. The offspring of these sick people… looked like this. individuals lower than any beasts.
Stein: So this was a Darwinian concept.
Stein: And also a Malthusian concept, very much Malthusian.
Stein: Thomas Malthus, who said that there was a shortage of resources. English philosopher, said there was a shortage…
George: Yes, but the Nazis, they relied on Darwin.
Stein: They relied on Darwin.
George: Yes, Darwin and German scientists.
Stein: Patients were led down this hallway to Nazi doctors, who decided who would live and who would die.
George: They were accompanied by 15, umm, 15 nurses.
George: Nurses. Male and female nurses.
Stein: So nurses were helping lead them to their doom.
Stein: So, were the prisoners told they were taking a shower?
George: Yes, they were taking a shower, and here was one or two showers.
Stein: So, how many people were brought into this room?
Stein: So, what is this?
George: This is the dissection table.
Stein: Do you ever think to yourself: The sane ones were the ones lying here having their brains removed. The insane one was Dr. Gorgass and all the other people…
George: No, no, I don’t think that because I think those people who killed here, they were very sane because they had their purposes.
Stein: They had purposes?
George: Yes. I don’t think they were insane. They had two crematory ovens.
Stein: I see.
George: And they killed about 70 people…
Stein: a day.
George: a day, so they had…
Stein: That’s barely enough time. They had their work…
George: They only killed from Monday to Friday, so…
Stein: Because the people who were doing the killing needed to have the weekend off. If you met Dr. Gorgass today, what would you say to him?
George: I don’t know. I don’t think that it’s my… my role to… to tell him something.
Stein: It’s difficult to describe how it felt to walk through such a haunting place… to know that these cold stone and tile walls were the last things the victims of Hadamar ever saw. I wanted to explore this connection further, so I met with the author of From Darwin to Hitler, Dr. Richard Weikart.
Dr. Richard Weikart: Hitler and many of the physicians that carried out this program were very fanatical Darwinists and particularly wanted to apply Darwinism to society. Many of these people in the 1910s, 1920s who were putting forward some of these ideas about racism were considered the leading scientists. These were Darwinists who were taken seriously by fellow academics. It’s not to say that all academics believed it.
Stein: These leading academics, were there any of them who were Americans?
Weikart: There were plenty of Americans who were saying similar kinds of things.
Stein: Not only were Americans saying such things, they were pioneers in this fledgling science known as Eugenics. They thought they could help evolution along by sterilizing the so-called feeble-minded and prohibiting them from getting married.
Michael Egnor: Physicians who are aware of the history of 20th-century American medicine harbor some bad feelings toward Darwinists because of Eugenics. And eugenics… which was an attempt to breed human beings… it was the darkest chapter of American medicine ever. There were 50,000 people involuntarily sterilized because they were deemed unfit to breed, basically.
Stein: Eugenics isn’t just history. The spirit of the movement lives on today.
Weikart: Margaret Sanger was the head of Planned Parenthood. She was very fanatical in her promotion of Eugenics. In fact, Planned Parenthood was all about birth control for the impoverished, and lower classes… to try to help improve the species.
Stein: From Hadamar, I traveled with Dr. Weikart to Dachau, where the Nazis applied the ideas of eugenics on a massive mechanistic scale. When it was a fully functioning concentration camp, uh, what was the purpose of it? I mean, part of it was to repress political enemies. What was the rest of the purpose?
Weikart: Well, beyond the repression of the political enemies, which was its purpose at the very beginning, then later on it transformed into repressing racial enemies. And sometimes those categories overlapped because sometimes they thought that these people were political enemies because they were inferior biologically. The war itself was part of the Darwinian struggle for existence, for Hitler. And he saw that extermination of the Jews as one of those fronts to this warfare going on, as this Darwinian struggle for existence.
Stein: Would you say that Hitler was insane?
Weikart: No, I wouldn’t say he was insane. I think he had imbibed some very, very wrong ideas, and, in fact, I think he took the logic of them in certain ways that brought him to take very radical solutions for them.
Stein: Would you say he was evil?
Weikart: Oh, I’d definitely say he was evil.
Stein: Is there such a thing as evil?
Weikart: Oh, I think there is.
Stein: And is there such a thing as good?
Weikart: Oh, definitely.
Stein: And…Evil can sometimes be rationalized as science.
Weikart: Oh, sure. And evil can sometimes be rationalized… when it’s rationalized as science, And I think when it was rationalized in this particular way, I think Hitler thought he was doing good.
Stein: He thought he was doing good?
Weikart: Oh, I think so. He thought he was benefiting humanity by driving evolution forward and creating a better humanity.
Stein: Before leaving Dachau, I stopped by the memorial commemorating the thousands of Jews Who were killed there in excruciating conditions. I know that Darwinism does not automatically equate to Nazism. But if Darwinism inspired and justified such horrific events in the past, could it be used to rationalize similar initiatives today?
Berlinski: There’s a good German expression, “So fangt es immer an.” I mean, “It always begins in the same way.” Something to remember in the context of The United States’ discussions of euthanasia and abortion. It always begins in the same way. There seems to be an excellent argument for getting rid of useless people by killing them. Or at least it seems excellent to the people advancing the argument.
Pamela Winnick: It’s the love affair with death and, you know, the euthanasia and this movement going on, which I find appalling. And the idea is that, you know, immediately rid our society of anybody who might be a drain and think of people in economic terms, and I think that’s where some of the Darwin fits in, actually. It’s just a devaluing of human life.
Steve Fuller: First of all, if you take seriously that evolution has to do with the transition of life forms, and that life and death are just natural processes, then one gets to be liberal about abortion and euthanasia. All of those kinds of ideas, seem to me, follow very naturally from a Darwinian perspective. A de-privileging of human beings, basically. And I think that people who want to endorse Darwinism have to sort of take this kind of viewpoint very seriously.
Jeffrey Schwartz: And when we see an elite… and it is an elite… an elite that controls essentially all the research money in science, saying, “There is no such thing as moral truth; science will not be related to religion.” I mean, it’s essentially official policy of The National Academy Of Science that religion and science will not be related. I mean, hey, that cuts off a lot of debate, doesn’t it?
Stein: What’s going to happen if this doesn’t change?
Schwartz: Well, I think we’re watching it happen, aren’t we?
Stein: I needed time to think, so I traveled to the birthplace of this idea.
“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.”
–Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871.
from an interview with Ben Stein by WORLD Magazine:
WORLD: You’re also very outspoken about your pro-life beliefs. Do you feel that the subject matter of Expelled relates to that?
STEIN: Very much so because Darwinism was closely connected to Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger and others in the eugenics movement. They proposed restricting birth to only those they considered genetically desirable, usually meaning Northern European types.
I don’t think most people realize how committed Sanger and others who played a part in the beginnings of the abortion movement were to eugenics and how extremely, extremely unfortunate much of their writings were in terms of their racial content. We’d like to make it clear to viewers that Planned Parenthood and other organizations like it had at the very least highly questionable beginnings.
Expelled’s showing of the connection between evolutionary doctrine and Nazi eugenics has already infuriated some in academia and the media: University of Minnesota professor P.Z. Myers blasted Expelled as “ludicrous in its dishonesty,” and Orlando Sentinel reviewer Roger Moore raged about “loaded images, loaded rhetoric.” But since a movie is not a dissertation, films show linkages by juxtaposing clips rather than pages of footnoted type. The real question is: Did Darwinism bulwark Hitlerian hatred by providing a scientific rationale for killing those considered less fit in the struggle for survival?
The answer to that question is an unambiguous yes. When I stalked the stacks of the Library of Congress in the early 1990s, I saw and scanned shelf upon shelf of racist and anti-Semitic journals from the first several decades of the last century, with articles frequently citing and applying Darwin. If you read an anti-Expelled review that dodges the issue of substance by concentrating merely on style, you’ll be seeing another sign of closed minds.
“Expelled Movie Exposes Planned Parenthood’s Pro-Abortion M.O.” by Maria Vitale at Lifenews.com:
A surprising character makes a cameo appearance in Ben Stein’s new movie, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.”
It’s Margaret Sanger, the matriarch of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion operation. Stein notes that Sanger was a proponent of eugenics, the pseudo-science which involves trying to create a master race of human beings through breeding.
The implication in the film is that Darwinism leads to eugenics which leads to abortion and euthanasia.
The public relations machine at Planned Parenthood must not be happy about what’s happening at the local Cineplex.
In essence, “Expelled” blows Sanger’s cover as a benevolent birth control promoter. Instead, she is portrayed as one of the founding mothers of an ideology that treats human beings as animals and readily dismisses the sanctity of human life.
But what Ben Stein reveals on the Sanger front is really nothing new.
In her book, Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy, author Angela Franks debunked the myth that Sanger was a minor player in the eugenics controversy.
Franks wrote, “Without her, eugenics itself would have become the sideshow, largely limited to the self-important musings and designs of academic societies and conferences.” According to Franks, Sanger “brought an expansion of eugenics as an activist movement that was breathtaking.”
It is obvious that promoters of eugenics follow a philosophy which fails to acknowledge the inherent value of all people, including those with physical and mental disabilities. But there is also a sinister link between eugenics and racism.
In her book, Franks said of Sanger, “Even if she did not attack racial minorities because of their race, her eugenic efforts nonetheless threatened them disproportionately.”
Even today, nearly 130 years after Sanger’s birth, black women are disproportionately affected by abortion, with black women more likely to have pregnancies ending in abortion than white women are.
The problem has become so pronounced that some black leaders, such as Pastor Clenard Childress of the organization known as L.E.A.R.N., refer to the abortions of African-Americans as a black genocide.
My guess is that Ben Stein will not win any Academy Awards by outing Margaret Sanger. But he has added some fresh insights to the marketplace of ideas. The monotone teacher from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” may just have something new to teach us all — especially when it comes to the root causes of the culture of death.
pro-abortion view on the movie from RH Reality Check:
“Expelled,” the anti-Darwinist polemic starring Ben Stein and his famous monotone, bears the deeply-ironic subtitle: “No Intelligence Allowed.” Despite the fact that such an unintentionally self-insulting tagline could be attached to only a very poor film, I bought tickets, hoping it might shed light on the wingnut mentality.
The film, and the creationist movement behind it, are all too relevant to reproductive justice activists. This crowd shares goals and fears, tactics and leaders, with anti-choicers. It’s two sides of the same coin, a multi-pronged mission to insert fundamentalist religious principles into all areas of public discourse.
The filmmakers themselves make that connection for us; by playing ominous music and using shadows over an old Planned Parenthood poster, they indicate that in their minds, family planning and abortion are direct outgrowths of the so-called-evil ideas of the Darwinists’. ID advocates and anti-choicers both argue that we are made in the divine image, ignoring the hard science which shows us to be highly-developed animals. Both movements encompass this denial of the randomness and fragility of life: an embryo is just a few cells, a person is just an intelligent primate. But there are plenty of people who accept that randomness and that science, and still are able to find purpose and spirituality — and none of them were interviewed for the film.
The film, however, does offer a lesson on common right-wing tactics, and good practice debunking them. So let’s get to it.
Confusing “Freedom” With Domination!
“Expelled” purports to be about academic freedom and the suppressing of same. For the first hour or so, Ben Stein walks, nay, plods, to interviews with a handful of disgruntled scientists, each of whom moans about being disciplined for teaching God — that is, an “intelligent designer” — in the science classroom.
But it would be hard for even the most die-hard first amendment fan to get indignant at this. Freedom of speech and thought is one thing — trashing the foundations of one’s scholarship field is another. Sure, a Renaissance English professor has the freedom to announce that Shakespeare sucks and we should be studying organic chemistry, but in a field which is based largely on Shakespeare, it’s unlikely that this professor will advance far. Similarly, a bio professor who attributes evolution to supernatural intelligence belongs in a theology department.
Departments of theology and religion exist for people to talk about God in the classroom. This system protects individuals from having to study religion if they don’t wish to, while allowing religious folks the freedom to pore over scriptural interpretation to their heart’s content. But that is not enough for the folks behind “Expelled.”
A parallel is abstinence-dogmatists who want religiously-inspired principles taught to all students, instead of the straight science of sex ed, even though they already have the complete freedom to instill these values in their own children, or to enroll them in a Sunday school. So when they say “freedom,” they mean “freedom to impose their ideas on all.”
Challenging Science and Rational Evidence!
Towards the end of the film, Stein forgets about the “academic freedom” message and attempts to frantically poke holes in Darwinian natural selection itself, even confronting the poor Darwin’s statue and trying to stare it down. Unfortunately, all the evidence he marshals against Darwin consists of our disgruntled scholar crew muttering about how there are some vague “holes” in his theories, and a videos of molecules that is too complex for Ben Stein to understand. It’s nothing that can’t be refuted (by those who are rational) by ten minutes of staring at the gorillas at the Bronx Zoo.
This inability to accept rational scientific evidence and the use of rumor and speculation reminds me of anti-choicers who whisper about the motivations of abortionists and promiscuous women, but refuse to confront the hard evidence that the number of abortions actually goes down when it is legal and safe and a full range of reproductive freedoms are available.
Bringing up Hitler!
The nastiest tactic of all. At the end of “Expelled,” Stein visits gas chambers and weeps, claiming that this is what Hitler’s interpretation of Darwinism has wrought. Claiming that the Holocaust was motivated by “social Darwinism” erases a long, sordid history of European anti-Semitism, including countless massacres and pogroms. It was this anti-Semitism, inspired by the religious idea that the Jews killed Christ, that informed Hitler’s willing executioners, ordinary citizens who enabled the genocide machine to function. Oh, and Hitler’s anti-Semitism? That was religiously-motivated too. The pseudo-science came later.
You know who else likes to bring up the Nazis? Anti-choicers, when they’re not comparing abortion to slavery. They share Steins’ desire to use the most vivid horrors in Western memory to manipulate people’s emotions, ignoring the fact that Nazism and slavery were systems which imposed a fanatical amount of control over individual lives and took away people’s bodily autonomy — sound familiar?
Complaining About Religious Marginalization in a Secular Society!
It’s hard to imagine a more ridiculous time for a movie about the poor religious fundamentalists being denied a voice than this week in America. Newspapers across the country went gaga for the Pope and afforded him more credibility than is given to most foreign presidents. Meanwhile, plenty of people stepped in to defend fundamentalist Mormon child-rapists, under the guise that they were “practicing their religion.” Religion is still largely given a free pass in today’s climate.
These points haven’t addressed the aesthetic atrocities committed by the “Expelled” crew, only the factual ones. On that score, it was a manipulative, simplistic, obvious and boring film. It explicitly misquoted Darwin in the worst of ways and rewrote Thomas Jefferson, famous Deist and anti-cleric, as a good Christian.
But though such callousness may have been hard to watch, it’s a comfort to know that the tactics of the wingnuts, no matter what science they’re attacking, remain refreshingly predictable.
The dark history of the shameful movement underpinning the biggest human atrocities of the 20th century was powerfully outlined by Ben Stein in his important documentary which is a must-see for anyone serious about science, about faith, and about freedom. Did I leave anybody out?
Stein followed the scientific community’s lockstep loyalty to Darwinism backwards in time, and ended up at the Nazi gas chambers, which first killed disabled people. They were just practicing Darwinism, by speeding up the process of natural selection, formerly called survival of the fittest, by eliminating “useless eaters”. Society bought into this toxic mentality because it came from doctors and scientists.
He followed their trail to Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, who was a dedicated eugenicist, working overtime to rid the world of people like my immigrant grandparents. While she was ostensibly offering women choice, secretly she was seeking to rid American society of the ‘unfit’. More Darwinism in action. We are still in the midst of the nightmare of Sanger’s legacy; 46 million Americans have died of abortion, far surpassing the darkest dreams of Hitler and Stalin together.
Ben Stein did us the invaluable favor of holding a spotlight of truth on some of society’s darkest secrets, and those valiant scientists who have dared to reveal them to academia. They were expelled from their positions and blacklisted from obtaining further employment. We are talking here about Oxbridge and Ivy League graduates who have produced world renowned work. They mentioned Intelligent Design once and they were gone. Nothing but strict Darwinism will be tolerated by academics. What happened to scientific inquiry and academic freedom?
Stein then exposed the utterly laughable theories of scientists who would rather make up some fairy tale about Extra Terrestrials coming to earth and planting “human seeds” from which we emerged, or life beginning as molecules bumping together on “the backs of crystals”.
With his trademark aplomb and vintage film clips adding humor and highlighting the outrageous statements captured by his camera, Ben Stein has created a classic which will one day be appreciated as the film that drew society bent on self-destruction back from the precipice.
If it’s not too late.
If we continue to allow ourselves to be dominated by militantly atheistic scientists whose agenda blinds them to the fact that evolution is a 150 year old theory which has not withstood scientific advances, we will find ourselves in a totalitarian state. The scientists themselves admitted on camera that they wish to destroy the power religion holds on culture, and relegate it to an innocuous hobby, like knitting. (Yes, they said that.)
Global warming and political correctness will have replaced the Judeo-Christian belief in the dignity of man, the pinnacle and master of God’s creation. We will find ourselves enslaved to a materialistic ideology. Our very right to exist will be determined by what the powerful consider a “worthwhile contribution” to society, against our carbon footprint. Many of us — “useless eaters” — may not make the cut.
Terri Schiavo didn’t.
Forty-six million unborn American didn’t.