I've previously trumpeted my disdain for the politics behind Expelled. In short, it's a film starring noted (ahem) 'Smart Guy' Ben Stein wherein the producers explore the seeming enormous number of academics who have been ousted from their demagogic positions or denied tenure allegedly because they have aligned themselves with Intelligent Design. The film asks "Shouldn't both sides of this 'scientific controversy' be taught alongside one another? Isn't that what academic freedom and free speech are all about?"
I won't go deep into the answer, but briefly it is a resounding 'no.' That's not the film's position – far from it – that is my position. It's also the position of practically any genuine scientist or science education professional you can find. Intelligent Design (I.D.) is not science. It is not falsifiable. (Hence not science.) It is not even close to being accepted by scientific consensus (For the record, scientific consensus does not mean EVERY scientist on the planet agrees, it simply means that the vast majority do; that the notion has been properly peer reviewed; and it's hypotheses have either held up under scrutiny or been adjusted so that they do.) and thus does not constitute a scientific controversy. The 'scientists' who support it generally AREN'T accredited scientists or are scientists in disciplines that have nothing to do with evolution. The demagogues in the film who have allegedly been oppressed have demonstrably all been removed/denied tenure for entirely separate reasons (And if said reasons are 'trumped up' to give legitimacy to the purported 'real reason' (affiliation with I.D.) then where are the legal proceedings to untangle that misappropriation of justice?). Anyhow, there is much more that could be said on this, but I'm not going to retread more territory that has been well worn by more accomplished sceptics than I. If you feel the need to delve (and there's some good juice – just look into the entire P.Z. Meyers boondoggle) I recommend Expelled Exposed.
And now, in paragraph three, I finally get to my purpose.... Since I first heard of Expelled I've wanted to see it out of morbid curiosity. There is also the underlying need to be able to righteously answer "As a matter of fact, I have!" when defiantly challenged "Oh yeah? Have you even watched the movie?" But, as a result of all their underhanded shenanigans (demonstrably duplicitous interview requests; the aforementioned P.Z. Meyers affair; the unlicensed use of copy-written material; misleading misquoting of Darwin – it's all in the Expelled Exposed site) I am loathe to give those assholes a dime of my money. So, last week when an opportunity to watch a pirated version of the film floated my way, I jumped.
It would be too easy so simply dismiss the film by declaring that there is 106 minutes of my life I'll never get back.
It took me at least two hours to get through it. It is a remarkably uncompelling. Three times I had to rewind and watch as much and more than five minutes over again. Not because it was too complex to follow – no, it's pretty Mickey Mouse (to say nothing if it's transparent theistic agenda). Not because it was so fascinating I had to see it again – Christ, no. But because it is so dull that my mind would not just wander, but go on a full-on walk-about.
Many of it's most immediate critics (like Richard Dawkins) criticize it for its basic filmic technique, but why bother? Watching on a small screen, many of these purported failures were largely invisible if they existed in the first place. The real problem with the film is that it simply isn't in the least engaging.
If you, like me, have a need to buoy up your awareness of I.D.'s ridiculous creationist agenda, then go for it. Find a free copy, and sacrifice two hours of your life to an exercise in logical fallacy. But seriously, if you are even only marginally intrigued... save yourself.