Forget texting, alcohol, and birth control. Something else is vying for your teeanger’s attention and acceptance in schools and universities today, and it’s not peer pressure. It’s science.
Many Lutherans today remember a time when creation, God, and intelligent design were discussed freely in classroom and laboratories across the country. But I can’t. A lot can’t. Instead, our formative years in science class were and are spent conferring on evolution, monkeys, and Darwinism.
And while he’s so 42 seconds ago, along came Ben Stein, the sneaker-wearing economist and journalist known for his monotone voice, dry humor, and commercials with Shaq. No one expected that Stein, who’s Jewish, would become one of the country’s biggest champions of getting intelligent design back into the classroom. But with the release of his film Expelled, a documentary that questions the scientific community’s infatuation with evolution, he kind of did.
I just watched a clip of Expelled again a few days ago. In it (and the film in general), he sets out to talk to famous scientists in academia, trying to discover if open, candid discussions about the possibility of an intelligent designer were even still possible in the classroom anymore. What he discovered created a firestorm in the scientific community.
Academics who discuss intelligent design are punished for it. Stein met with a host of scientists and doctors, nearly 150 of them, formerly employed at colleges and universities, who were fired or refused tenure simply for allowing students to debate the merits of intelligent design in the classroom. Vilified for doing exactly what science claims is its purpose—asking questions and being free to find answers—some even found themselves as the center of congressional investigations and denied funding.
Even atheistic Darwinists concede that an intelligent designer exists. In one of the documentary’s most tense, dramatic, and slightly hilarious scenes, Richard Dawkins, a famous biologist and vocal defender of atheism and Darwinism, admits to Stein that an intelligent designer may, in fact, exist. “If you look at the details of our chemistry ,” confesses Dawkins, “you might find a signature of some sort of designer. But that higher intelligence would itself would have to come about by some explicable or ultimately explicable process. It couldn’t have just jumped into existence spontaneously.” So, Stein observes, “Professor Dawkins was not against intelligent design, just certain types of designers . . . such as God.”
Ben Stein’s Expelled was and is worth its hour. It encourages intelligent, thinking, speaking Americans to question whether academic freedom still exists in academia today, even when the sad realization is that, in fact, it does not.