I finally got around to watching the documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. This was one of the most interesting documentaries that I have ever seen. There is of course much Michael Moore style rhetoric in the documentary. There are also some quick references to Planned Parenthood’s link to Nazi style eugenics that is more distracting than helpful. But overall the documentary does a good job of presenting the current intolerance in the academic world toward the discussion of intelligent design. This documentary does not attempt to prove the existence of God (although it is likely your faith will be strengthened) but argues for freedom of speech for scholars. In general I have not discussed intelligent design as I am far from being a scientist. However, I would like to address some of the objections that atheists and some secular scholars have for even mentioning intelligent design.
1) Intelligent Design is not Science – Intelligent design does not start with the Bible and very rarely even touches on the Bible. It is an examination of the scientific data and a discussion of what possible causes could have led to the data that we currently have. That sounds like science to me.
2) Intelligent Design is an Attempt to Impose Christianity on Society – Intelligent design is not a Christian doctrine. In fact many conservative Christians are uncomfortable with it. Many in this movement are Christian (from left to right), Jewish, agnostic and so on. There is widespread disagreement on who or what the intelligent designer is and there is no consensus that it is the God of the Bible.
3) Intelligent Design will Lead to Six Day Creation/ Young Earth Teachings being Pushed in the Schools – Despite the rhetoric of many atheists, intelligent design is not the same thing as traditional creationism. Creationism starts with a literal reading of Genesis, assumes a six day creation and an approximately six thousand year old earth and attempts to support those beliefs and refute any evidence against it. Intelligent design starts with the scientific evidence of the complexity of the universe and of life on earth and then becomes open that there might be some sort of intelligent designer involved in the process. To say that intelligent design will automatically lead to six day creationism is like saying that having evolution taught in the school will automatically lead to Nazi style eugenics. Discussion of moderate positions does not necessarily bring into play the more extreme views.
Overall Expelled was a very good documentary. Allowing the discussion of intelligent design in the educational system can only improve the education experience and in no way is a violation of the separation of church and state. The fact that there is so much intolerance toward intelligent design is another sign of the zeal of the new atheism in our society.