Expelling Academic Freedom from the Classroom

Mike Gallagher | "The Mike Gallagher Show" nationally syndicated with the Salem Radio Network | Monday, April 21, 2008

Expelling Academic Freedom from the Classroom

April 21, 2008

Salem radio talk show host Mike Gallagher recently interviewed Ben Stein about his new movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” The movie, which takes a critical look at Darwinism and the suppression of academic freedom, opens nationwide April 18.

Mike Gallagher: You must be excited. There’s a lot of buzz about “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” Tell me a little about the genesis—all pun intended—behind this movie. What made you want to do it and tell me a little bit about how it came into being.

Ben Stein: Well, I was approached by the producers of it … and they said they wanted to talk to me about Intelligent Design versus Darwinism, and some of the flaws and gaps in Darwinism. I thought, “Oh, these guys are a bunch of wackos, but I’ll talk to them just to be polite.” 

When they started showing me animations about how incredibly complex the cell was I was just floored. And I was overwhelmed when they told me about how people who say life is more complex than Darwinism can explain—those people were being fired from universities. I said let’s look at it a bit. And then we started talking about how Darwinism had such a huge impact on Hitler and some of Hitler’s henchmen, and how it had been a big, big part of the Holocaust. Next thing we knew we were really into it and we traveled all around the world to investigate this … and I was pretty convinced that there was something going on beyond Darwinism by the time we were all into it.

Gallagher: I love the notion that we should be able to proceed with by least having the debate occur. You know right now the analogy that comes to mind for me is global warming. There are people who say, “Listen there’s no debate. Global warming is here, there’s no way around it … this is just the way it is, and you are going to accept this or else.”

Stein: Well, a lot of people say not only that, they say you’re stupid; they say you’re a knuckle dragging creationist; or, in the case of global warming, they say you’re a pawn of the big oil companies. The interesting thing about Darwinism is that Darwin himself said this whole subject of evolution was so complex that for a human to understand it was like a dog trying to understand Newton’s physics. Darwin himself would have, I think, been shocked at the extent to which his disciples are squeezing out any kind of dissent from the world of science. He was in favor of free discussion, but not his followers. 

Gallagher: I appreciate the layers I think this movie is going to have because there are layers to these tough issues to our times—these tough complicated social issues. And I think Americans are ready for that kind of exploration rather than simply saying, “Alright we’re a planet in peril, case closed. Alright we evolved from apes, case closed.”

It doesn’t have to be about right or left, but it has to do with intellectual discourse, right?

Stein: It’s about freedom of speech, freedom of inquiry and the basic principles upon which this country was founded.

Mike Gallagher is an author, columnist and host of the nationally syndicated “The Mike Gallagher Show” on the Salem Radio Network.