By chance, I caught the last segment of last night’s installment of “The Hour” on CBC, where one of the guests was Ben Stein promoting his recent anti-evolution movie Expelled. When I’ve watched it, I’ve generally liked “The Hour” and the irreverent tone struck by its host, George Stroumboulopoulos. But what I saw yesterday was a real let-down, I have to say. There were essentially no substantive questions about anything in the movie and what the basis is for the latest mouture of creationism, so-called intelligent design. Given Stroumboulopoulos’ penchant for pop culture references, I at least expected some pointed questions about how the film illegally used clips of songs by John Lennon and The Killers, but nope, not even that! And, in contrast to the notion that the movie’s been well-received in the
Instead, the interview consisted of softball questions, and really focused on Stein’s status as a minor pop culture reference. This is perhaps not surprising given the show’s generally chummy attitude towards its guests (which is nice, overall, don’t get me wrong), but still. That’s not an absolution from asking questions that actually matter and objectively addressing an ongoing controversy. Anyway, in the few minutes of the interview actually devoted to the film, Stein was allowed to spout off nonsense about how evolutionary theory (what he calls ‘Darwinism’) is directly linked to the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis, how there is ample evidence that everything in the universe is intelligently designed, and how people who espouse this newfangled form of creationism (recognized as such as a result of the Dover trial) have systematically been booted from academic positions because of that belief.
The 4-5 minutes devoted to the film were so dizzyingly choke-full of disinformation and outright lies about evolutionary theory that it’s hard to know where to start. Frankly, I was embarrassed that such a concentrate of lies was allowed to be shown on the English-language version of
Since the movie isn’t, as far as I know, distributed in Canada (and certainly not in Montréal), let me just point interested readers to the Expelled Exposed website (created by the US National Center for National Education), since it contains a wealth of information that directly address, correct and refute the many, many of the incorrect claims that constitute the backbone of this film. You might also want to watch this video on YouTube to get an idea of the rest of Stein's ideas in this day and age.