Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
is a documentary film conducted by Ben Stein in the style of
documentaries of the 2000s.
The substance? It's on "Darwinist" evolutionists and how they try to suppress the views of anyone in favor of "Intelligent Design". Depending on whom you ask and how they're feeling on the day you ask, Intelligent Design is either a form of creationism, or a form of evolution which nonetheless contains the tenet that certain things cannot have evolved without outside help. It also argues that "Darwinism" creates atheism and moral corruption.
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed contains examples of the following tropes:
- Big Bad: Richard Dawkins. Ben Stein thinks Dawkins is the atheist to beat if atheism is indeed correct. He treats his confrontation with Dawkins as the Final Boss of the movie.
- B Roll Rebus: Played obliviously straight. The Lord Privy Seal effect is in full force, words and their respective pictures are constantly mixed.
- David Versus Goliath: There's a very staged scene that attempts to portray an Intelligent Design organization as a David standing against the Goliath of evolutionary science. Stein wanders around a street, supposedly having difficulty finding the huge building where he expects the organization to be housed. When he's finally pointed to the building, he announces that the organization surely takes up the entire building. Lo and behold, the organization is quite small and takes up only one office!
- Documentary Of Lies:
- To illustrate the point of the evils of evolutionary theory, the movie includes a passage from Darwin's The Descent of Man that seemingly favors eugenics and culling the infirm and insane, but cuts Darwin praising doctors and lawmakers for their care of and concern for the weak and the poor. These portions of the text are in the middle of the quote, making their exclusion an intentional lie by omission. The following paragraph of the book, omitted in its entirety, has Darwin unambiguously state as evil the very views the film ascribes to him. This is called quote mining, a very common tactic which has also been used against Richard Dawkins the same way. Except, in the portion of the movie interviewing Dawkins, Ben Stein tries to twist or quote mine several things Dawkins says, while leaving in the original content that reveals Stein's dishonesty.
- Both Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers were interviewed under the claim that it was a documentary about the controversy of evolution vs. creationism or intelligent design, rather than pushing one idea over the other in a blatantly one-sided way.
- Executive Meddling: Well, distributor meddling. The film originally used "Imagine" by John Lennon as background music to what sort of civilization would be created by a society that had shoved religion aside. The footage it backed was of Soviet Russia. Yoko Ono disapproved of this use of John's music and sued for infringement. It was ultimately declared fair use, but the video distributor cut the offending footage from the DVD, anyway.
- Fictional Document: This film is full of new productions made in the style of 1950s educational films.
- Godwin's Law: A fair portion of the movie towards the end involves trying to directly link acceptance of evolution and the Holocaust. Naturally, people were quite outraged that Stein, who is Jewish, would try to pull this card.
- Hitler Ate Sugar: The documentary goes some ways to tie Darwin and his work to eugenics and ultimately to the Nazis. It becomes all the more obvious as it progresses.
- Quote Mine: The film is infamous for its deliberate twisting of quotes to suit the agenda of its creators. For instance, Richard Dawkins's interview is cut to grossly misrepresent what he actually said, as well as make him seem slightly insane.