Entertainment Review: “Expelled vs. UrineTown”
by Eric Bermingham
This past weekend I viewed two productions which were closely related, but coming from opposite ends of the spectrum. The first was Expelled – No Intelligence Allowed, and the second was Urinetown – The Musical. The former showed the ill effects of Malthusian policies, the latter ended with the exclamation “Hail Malthus!” It was quite a contrast.
Expelled is the newly released movie starring Ben Stein as a roving reporter trying to determine why Intelligent Design is banned from academia, science journals, the Smithsonian Institution, and the media in general. He claims to have started his investigation with an open mind, neither favoring nor disfavoring the concept that life on Earth displays evidence of design. What he found was very disturbing.
One man who is prominently featured in the film is Richard Sternberg, formerly of the Smithsonian Institution, who published an article favorable to design in nature by Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute (www.discovery.org). For this Dr. Sternberg was ostracized and lost his position. Dr. Sternberg merely wanted to provide a forum for discussion of origins, but he soon found out that evolutionists have no tolerance for dissent.
Stephen Meyer is interviewed in the film and Ben Stein visits the offices of the Discovery Institute in Seattle. Another well-know proponent of Intelligent Design presented in the movie is William Dembski, of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Fortunately for him, his position is not threatened because of his views. Guillermo Gonzalez, author of The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery, was not so lucky. Although his credentials are impeccable, he was denied tenure at Iowa State University for his views on design in nature.
One of Kolbe Center’s own advisory board members, Maciej Giertych, has a spot in the film. He relates how there is more academic freedom in Poland than here in the United States when it comes to questioning the theory of Evolution. Other scientists, a journalist, and a teacher also share their experiences of persecution because they dared to consider Intelligent Design.
The most famous evolutionist/atheist in the film is Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion. In the movie, he proudly reads the famous quotation from his book:
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
He has no use for Intelligent Design or belief in any God. He freely admits that his acceptance of evolutionary theory led to his disbelief in God, as do other scientists featured in Expelled.
There are a number of dark moments throughout the film, especially scenes taken near the Berlin wall. The wall is likened to a wall of separation in academia and the media which will not allow any aspect of Intelligent Design to be seriously considered. The movie also ties evolutionary thought with Nazism, showing clips of Hitler giving a speech. A trip to a former concentration camp in Germany highlights how bad ideas can lead to awful consequences. Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood get mentioned for their eugenic policies.
Although Urinetown – The Musical is somewhat light-hearted, it reveals the consequences of blind evolutionary thinking. The setting is a town experiencing a water shortage, with no private toilets allowed. The lead antagonist, Caldwell Cladwell, is a ruthless businessman and owner of UGC, Urine Good Company. He owns all the public toilets and charges exorbitant fees for their use.
The lead protagonist, Bobby Strong, is a weak character who kidnaps Caldwell’s daughter Wendy for protection. After Bobby is killed, Wendy succeeds him as rebel leader and immediately orders her father killed for his crimes against the people. Later, it is reported that she is herself killed by the same people after ineffective rule.
Narrator Officer Lockstock is quite pragmatic about execution of rebels, professing that he cares so much about the people of the town that he is willing to execute a few for the good of the many. The play seems to approve of totalitarian methods for fighting supposed overpopulation. A general disregard for the sanctity of life permeates Urinetown. A director’s note in the program declares:
With global climate change threatening to dry up our fresh water supplies, and human population increases making those supplies more urgent, it seems that Thomas Malthus’ predictions in this 1789 An Essay on the Principle of Population are coming to fruition: as a species, we are outpacing our (and the planet’s) ability to provide for our own survival.
It was Malthus who inspired Darwin to write On the Origin of Species, which has been the cause of a great deal of misery in the world. Environmentalists and others use these ideas to promote abortion, euthanasia, birth control, and other inhumane measures for controlling the population.
I highly recommend going to see Expelled – No Intelligence Allowed. I hope that as many people as possible view the film if only to get them thinking about alternatives to evolution. This may finally be the break we have been looking for to start a serious public discussion. I cannot recommend Urinetown – The Musical unless you just want to see the consequences of evolutionary thinking.