The irony of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is that it is a movie whining about its proponents having no academic freedom to argue its merits, yet the entire ID movement feels quite comfortable resorting to police state tactics to limit the academic freedom of its critics. Since last Friday, the blogosphere has been abuzz with discussions regarding PZ Meyers expulsion from a screening of…well… Expelled. The irony of a scientist denied an opportunity to critique a movie that itself complains its proponents are denied an opportunity to critique evolution is too obvious to bother having a discussion, although Brayton goes through the irony list one-by-one.
The problem Intelligent Design has is not that its proponents’ academic freedom has been restricted…it is that ID has been unable to argue its case within the halls of academic freedom. ID has lost the argument in biological research; ID has lost the argument in the science classroom; ID has lost the argument in blogosphere; ID has lost the argument in court. It wins only by contriving events and fixing the rules so its critics do not have the opportunity to object. When ID can’t get published because people ask too many unanswerable questions (peer review), it cries “foul” and attempts to fix the rules of publication. When its proponents don’t get tenure because they haven’t done any real research, ID cries “foul” and charges violation of academic freedom. When atrociously bad science teachers do not have their contracts renewed, they cry “foul” and claim they were fired because of their pro-ID positions. When ID loses its battle for legitimacy in academia, in the classroom and in the courts, its proponents get states to sponsor “academic freedom” legislation so they can teach it anyway. Intelligent Design remains alive only because of a herculean advertising effort by its proponents. ID cannot win in the same academic freedom arena where every other single important scientific discovery throughout history has made its case and triumphed. It needs to fix the rules of the game.