April 21, 2008
I’ll hear no more criticisms of Michael Moore for playing fast and loose with his facts. The new anti-evolution pseudo-documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed offers more distortions, mined quotes, timeline tricks and staged spontaneity than the entire Moore oeuvre to date, and plumbs depths of sleaziness so contemptible they could only be the work of wingnuts doing God’s work — or what they think of as God’s work, anyway.
This rundown in Scientific American shows the film rewording passages from Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man in order to make Darwin sound like a proto-Nazi, offering heavily edited interviews from respectable scientists who were conned into speaking, and paints all scientists who reject ID crankery as a bunch of raving atheists. The cherry on this fudged sundae is the scene in which Ben Stein gets a standing ovation from an audience for his views on intellgent design — the audience was a hall full of extras hired by the producers.
This flamethrower review in the NYT cites the film’s “contempt for precision and intellectual rigor,” its “willful misunderstanding of the scientific method” before writing it off as “an unprincipled propaganda piece that insults believers and nonbelievers alike.”
How embarrassing to have once considered Ben Stein an interesting and intelligent conservative. I don’t believe in judging a performer’s work according to his politics — I actually enjoy Bob Dylan’s ranting born-again albums — but if Stein wants to sign his name and image to work this disgusting, then I no longr want to read or watch anything else he’s involved in.