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:
- Arbitrary Skepticism: If you're going to argue that Intelligent Design is a real possibility and doesn't require belief in God, then panspermia should not be offensive to you, as it's pretty much the only other option.
- 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. (See the Funny page for this work for an incident that's doubly amusing in light of this.)
- Bigger Bad: Although Charles Darwin is dead and not affiliated with the current struggle over school curriculum, he is the source of evolutionary science. The film blames him for Nazism and other atrocities.
- 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 his assumption 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 in 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.
- 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. Note that Darwin's The Descent of Man explicitly repudiated the concept of Social Darwinism (in a passage which Stein Quote Mined).
- Playing the Victim Card: The main thrust of the film is portraying Intelligent Design proponents as an abused minority that is being unfairly silenced by a tyrannical "Darwinist" conspiracy. Whether you buy that argument is up to you.
- Quote Mine: The film is infamous for its deliberate twisting of quotes to suit the agenda of its creators. For instance, Richard Dawkins' interview is cut to grossly misrepresent what he actually said, as well as make him seem slightly insane.