"I am floored by what a response it got," Ben Stein, the actor, author, and former White House speechwriter for President Nixon, said in his signature monotone on the phone from Chicago. Mr. Stein was referring to the effusive feedback that he and producers Logan Craft, Walt Ruloff, and John Sullivan have received from advance screenings of a new feature-length documentary hosted by Mr. Stein entitled Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.
, which opens April 18, the iconically blasé teacher from Ferris Bueller's Day Off
and the host of Win Ben Stein's Money
has been recast as the driving personality and first-person narrator of a Michael Moore-style documentary confronting a contemporary scientific status quo that harbors a zero-tolerance policy for the theory of intelligent design in scientific research and American classrooms. According to the film's Web site, "educators and scientists are being ridiculed, denied tenure, and even fired for the 'crime' of merely believing that there might be evidence of 'design' in nature, and that perhaps life is not just the result of accidental, random chance."
The film's producers define intelligent design, somewhat tautologically, as "a theory that attempts to empirically detect if the apparent design in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design or the product of an intelligent cause." On the other hand, Richard Dawkins, the Oxford evolutionary biologist, avowed atheist, and author of The God Delusion
, describes intelligent design as "creationism in a cheap tuxedo," and he spars with Mr. Stein onscreen in Expelled