For Ben Stein, host of an upcoming documentary on the dominance of Darwinism in academia, Darwinism is not just problematic but dangerous even.
In a media teleconference for the film "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" on Tuesday, Stein pointed out that Darwinian teaching on natural selection and random mutation "led in a straight line to the holocaust and Nazism."
Darwin said that there were certain species that were superior to other species and all were competing for scarce supplies of food or resources, Stein pointed out. But if there was a limited supply of basic resources, Darwinism taught that "you owe it to the superior race to kill the inferior race," he told reporters.
Darwinian evolutionary theory fueled Nazi idealism that felt gypsies, Eastern Europeans and others were competing with them for scarce basic resources, explained Stein.
"As a Jew, I am horrified that people thought Jews were so inferior they didn't deserve to live," he commented.
But the link between Darwinism and the holocaust is just one of many reasons why the former speech writer for President Nixon and President Ford decided to join Premise Media in the making of the documentary, which hits theaters April 2008.
Stein said he finds it problematic that Darwinism, which he feels leaves a lot of questions unanswered, is being touted in the academic and scientific circles as the only rational explanation on how life began.
Where did life come from? How did cells get so complex?
If the origins of life all did happen by random mutation, he questioned, where does the laws that make the universe possible to function – the law of gravity, the law of thermodaynamics, laws of motion – all come from?
"Who created these laws that keeps the planets in motion?" asked Stein. "These are fundamental questions" where Darwinism lacks explanations.
The film follows Stein as he interviews disciples of Darwinian Evolution, including The God Delusion author Richard Dawkins and proponents of Intelligent Design – the teaching that the creation of life and the universe are results of an intelligent "designer."
At first glance, the documentary may appear to attack Darwinism and champion Intelligent Design.
But the film doesn't try to validate one idea over another, explained Walt Ruloff, the film's executive producer and CEO of Premise Media.
"Science is supported by empirical work that can be verified by empirical data. We are not against that," he told reporters.
"What we are asking for is freedom of speech ... for people who do research to have freedom to ask the questions they need to ask and go where they need to go.
The current system doesn't allow open dialogue, according to the makers of "Expelled." The film highlights a number of educators and scientists who are being ridiculed, denied tenure and even fired in some cases for the fact that they believe there is evidence of "design" in nature or challenging the Darwinian orthodoxy.
Ruloff hopes that the film will prompt congressional language to protect the free speech of people who dissent from Darwinism.
Furthermore, he sees the documentary as creating a culture where things like the metaphysical can be openly discussed.
"Eighty-five percent of people believe in a form of a deity – why can't we talk about that?" asked Ruloff.
"We don't think that we have all the the answers, or anyone has all the answers," added Stein. "We just want free speech."