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NASHVILLE, TN (ANS) -- Ben Stein is an extremely well known actor in movies, TV, and commercials. His part of the boring teacher in Ferris Bueller's Day Off was recently ranked as one of the fifty most famous scenes in American film. From 1997 to 2002, he was the host of the Comedy Central quiz show, “Win Ben Stein's Money.” The show has won seven Emmies. He was a judge on CBS's “Star Search,” and on VH-1's “America's Most Smartest Model.”
|Banner for the new Ben Stein movie|
But now Ben Stein (Benjamin J. Stein), who born November 25, 1944 in Washington, D.C., the son of the economist and writer Herbert Stein, is about to hit the big screen again with what promises to be the most controversial film of his career -- EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed.
I caught up with Stein, who is Jewish, at the recent NRB Convention in Nashville, Tennessee and told him that I thought only evangelicals believed in Intelligent Design, which is the assertion that certain features of the universe, and of living things, are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.
Stein said, “Well, first of all, Evangelicals are not the only ones who believe in Intelligent Design. Anyone who believes that there was a God who created the heavens and the earth and created life believes in Intelligent Design. God is the most intelligent being there ever was; He’s the ultimate in intelligence. So I’d say the great majority of people who believe in religion believe in Intelligent Design.
|Ben Stein with Dan
Wooding at NRB 2008
“But our movie is primarily not about Intelligent Design, it’s about freedom of speech. We are very concerned that people who are at colleges and universities and are trying to talk about Intelligent Design; trying to talk about the idea that there are holes in Darwinism; trying to talk about the fact that Darwinism doesn’t answer many of the basic questions about life; those people are being ridiculed, mocked, expelled, losing their grants and so we’re trying to say ‘stop.’
“We’re like William F. Buckley standing to thwart the train of history and saying, ‘stop, stop and consider what you’re doing. Stop and consider the implications for freedom of speech. Stop and consider the fact that Darwinism doesn’t answer where does life come from? Where did physics come from? Where does gravity come from? How did the cell get so complex? How can the cell sometimes repair itself?’”
Stein went on to say, “Darwinism does not answer a huge number of questions. Random mutation and natural selection don’t say anything about origins. They don’t say anything about big steps in the process. There’s never been an observation of a separate mammalian species evolving. Let’s step back. Darwin was a genius. He was one of the great geniuses of all time, but even he said, ‘There’s an awful lot I don’t know; most of it in fact, I don’t know.’ Let’s continue to have freedom of speech about it. That principle has been thrown out bodily in American colleges and universities. They just believe in repression and neo-Darwinist orthodoxy. It is time to call a halt and go back to freedom of speech.”
I then asked Ben Stein what he role was in the movie and did he produce it?
“No, no, the producer is a gentleman sitting to my left named Walter Ruloff, a very, very successful guy in many areas,” he said. “There are other producers; many nice other people who worked on this movie. I wrote a little tiny bit of it along with a lot of other people. Two other people wrote most of it. I’m the host and narrator. My big fat face is on camera a lot of the time, but I, by no means, was the moving force of it. I am part of the team that was led by Walter Ruloff.”
I wondered if he had been the subject of personal attacks since the news of the film began to come out.
“Well, I’ll put it this way, Dan, I’ve had a lot but nothing compared to what I’m going to get,” said Stein. “It’s going to get worse and worse. Some of the attacks have been extremely hurtful to me. Nevertheless one of the great benefits of having worked for Richard Nixon was that I’m used to being attacked. I’ve been being attacked all my life. One of the great benefits of being a Jew is that you’re used to being attacked.
“I was a speech writer for Mr. Nixon and for Mr. Ford and I also did some legal work for Mr. Nixon. I can say that the parts of his defense in Watergate that I wrote were the only parts that flew and the only parts that the Watergate investigating committee said, ‘Ok, we think you’re clean on this.’”
He added, “I would say that this movie is the most controversial thing I’ve ever done aside from working for Nixon. And I’d say that working for Nixon was really, really, controversial. I must say at the time that I didn’t realize how controversial it was going to be. But it has sort of followed me all of my life and even now people who are mean-spirited nasty people invariably bring it up in a negative way. However, people who are open-minded will bring it up in a more positive way.
“But this subject evokes incredible fear. This Darwinism that we’re making our movie about evokes incredible fear from the big sized Darwin establishment. They know they’re on thin ice; they know the theory has a huge number of holes in it. They know it doesn’t say anything about organized principles or origins. They’re scared they don’t want to be attacked because they know they’re standing on top of a house of cards.
“We believe that Darwinism is the real Orthodox Church, because Darwinism asks you to believe in things unseen that are incredibly unlikely. Darwinism asks us to believe that out of pure random chance, we got a cell that is as complicated as a Boeing 777. Darwinism asks us to believe that one day there was nothing but mud and ooze, and the next day there was life, and very soon after there was intelligent life.
“Darwinism asks us to believe that you can destroy genetic material through random mutation and natural selection and yet end up with more genetic material. We don’t really ask you to believe anything that difficult; it is sort of innate in man kind to believe that thee is a God, a heavenly Father and we’re asking you to just follow the consequences of that and see if possibly there could be some scientific validity to that.”
I then asked Stein when the movie would be in American theaters.
“The movie will be in a thousand screens starting April 18th and we hope people will go see it, talk about it with their families, tell their children if they believe that the movie makes any sense at all to stand up for freedom of speech in the classroom.”
For more information on the film, go to: www.expelledthemovie.com
Note: I would like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview.
|Dan Wooding, 67, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma of 44 years. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He was, for ten years, a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC. Wooding is the author of some 42 books, the latest of which is his autobiography, "From Tabloid to Truth", which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, go to www.fromtabloidtotruth.com. firstname.lastname@example.org.|