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'Expelled' encourages intelligent design discussion, Chen says

April 22, 2008

David Poe/Lariat staff
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed associate producer Mark Mathis speaks with Baylor director of media relations Lori Fogleman, Sept. 21, 2007 while doing research for the film.
By Lynn Ngo and Shannon Daily
Reporter and Staff writer

Friday marked the nation-wide opening of the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

In the movie, Ben Stein, an actor generally known for his game show, Win Ben Stein's Money, questions the role of intelligent design in the academic world.

Several Baylor professors, including Dr. Robert Marks and Dr. Walter Bradley, both distinguished professors in the engineering and computer science department, were interviewed for the film.

Marks and Bradley were among the opening night crowd at the Hollywood Theaters.

'"I thought it portrayed things pretty well as they are �-- that science by decree of entrenched Darwinism has no room for a God hypothesis," Marks said. "I on the other hand think that one cannot pursue truth without consideration of a creator."

Marks said if science defines science as void of a creator, then it's not a pursuit of truth.

Bradley said in an e-mail to The Baylor Lariat there were areas he would have liked to see explored in more detail.

"The general thesis that belief in an intelligently designed universe can prevent people from being hired or cause them to lose their job is sadly true in many universities, maybe even in some departments at Baylor," Bradley said.

Allentown, Pa., junior Sam Chen has also been involved with the movie. When the filmmakers came to campus in September, they contacted Chen because of his involvement with the Intelligent Design Undergraduate Research Center.

"I think what Ben Stein is doing in the movie is saying, 'Look we have a problem in academia where if you even entertain the idea of intelligent design, you may lose your job'," Chen said.

How Baylor was portrayed was fair, Chen said.

"There's no attack on our Christian identity or academic standards," he said.

However, there were both positive and negative reactions.

"When Baylor came up you heard very quietly some cheers and some hisses," Chen said.

Still, the movie encouraged discussion of intelligent design, Chen said.

"I really don't think it was pushing the issue too much," he said.

Mark Mathis, associate producer for the film, said Baylor is in a very difficult position, which needs to be addressed -- professors are afraid their funding will be pulled with any association with intelligent design.

"You have a science department that's denying a god," Mathis said

The filmmakers chose to come to Baylor because there was someone here willing to speak to them, he said.

"Most people aren't willing to take that heat. That's why we came to Baylor, because we found a man of courage in Bob Marks," Mathis said.

Mathis also interviewed director of media relations, Lori Fogleman, and dean of engineering and computer science, Dr. Ben Kelley.

Fogelman said in an e-mail to The Lariat that university administrators regret the concern the movie has caused and offered assurance that Baylor continues to maintain its Christian commitment in the historic Baptist tradition.

"At Baylor we are committed to upholding and strengthening our Christian faith and our scientific endeavors, both of which are fundamental to our mission. These two areas of inquiry often have different methodologies and different practices, and we do not see them in conflict with each other," Fogleman said.

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