An inconvenient truth?

Is Ben Stein’s new movie, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” a know-nothing polemic … or ahem, an inconvenient truth? I imagine the movie’s debut will stir up quite a lot of response from differing viewpoints, or it may just sink beneath a wave of apathy. Either way, our family is going to see it tonight while we can.

The trailer above certainly poses some interesting questions; among them Stein’s observation that every area of our society tolerates freedom of speech (even, or especially, if bizarre — such as the theory that life was “sown” by alien visitors) except when it comes to Intelligent Design, and nowhere is this more vigorously persecuted than in academia (I guess I’d at least question Stein’s view that free speech is tolerated in academia given the events at the University of St. Thomas in the last year).

Watching this movie should be an interesting counter-point to a show I happened to come across the other day on the History channel: Life After People. The show speculates on what the earth would be like if all humans suddenly disappeared, using CGI technology to illustrate conditions 30 to 10,000 years after “we’re gone.” The show was interesting, if somewhat snicker-inducing at how seriously it was taking itself. I found myself following along as each millenia rolled by, revealing what a wonderful place this could be. Somewhere around 1,000 to 2,000 years into the “future” I started to wonder if — with all this abundant life — the show would forecast the evolution of another human race.

In fact, the show did, toward the end, ask the question if whether tool-using primates would evolve into humans, capable of not only looking at the starry night sky but also viewing it with wonder and imagination. The conclusion offered, however, was that, though certain primates may become somewhat more advanced, it was extremely unlikely they would become humans. Soooo…I wonder how the producers of the show figure that humans ever showed up in the first place?

Maybe they could have asked Ben Stein….

UPDATE:
Rich Karlgaard posts his thoughts and encourages comments on a similar theme in his blog today.

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