Southern Baptist TEXAN’s Jerry Pierce interviewed Logan Craft, one of
the executive producers of the upcoming movie documentary “Expelled,”
starring Ben Stein, which will debut in theaters in April.
a University of Texas at Austin alumnus now living in Santa Fe, N.M.,
is chairman of Premise Media. “Expelled” exposes the blacklisting of
academics who question the prevailing Darwinian dogma. It includes
interviews with William Dembski, a leading intelligent design thinker
and a research professor of philosophy at Southwestern Baptist
Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, and Robert Marks, a distinguished
professor of engineering at Baylor University in Waco. The following is
transcribed from a phone interview with Craft.
TEXAN: How did Premise Media get involved in this project?
There are three partners, executive producers, of Premise—Walt Ruloff,
John Sullivan and myself. I’m the chairman, Walt Ruloff is the CEO and
John is the president. And we have an extensive team that works
directly for the company and then is contracted also by the company on
the film “Expelled.”
The original inspiration came
specifically in this subject matter to Walt Ruloff, who is a Canadian.
He lives in Vancouver. I used to live in Vancouver, where I studied
under a theologian named J.I. Packer at Regent, and Walt and I became
acquainted. Walt was a very successful technology entrepreneur, founder
of a software company. And he was doing some business in Houston and he
picked up a ‘Wired” magazine in the Houston Intercontinental Airport
lounge and he read an article about this debate between evolution and
intelligent design. He had always been interested in the subject matter
and he got inspired and kind of had an epiphany on the flight back to
Canada, and he wrote out a treatment on a screenplay. And that very
beginning, a sort of inspirational moment for Walt, turned into a
partnership between John, Walt and myself to explore controversial
subject matter related to science and to science and religion.
had been working in New Mexico. I produced and hosted a regionally
televised program called “Church and State with Logan Craft.” And
“Church and State” explored a lot of the controversial social issues
and political issues that both religious and non-religious people were
interested in. So when Walt and John brought this to me, I was
interested because I had been covering a panoply of issues over the
years and was very, very aware of the connection between the landmark
issues in the culture war and the debate over evolution. So we formed a
partnership in 2005, developed the company in 2006 and began filming
and acquiring raw material footage in the middle of 2006.
TEXAN: How did Ben Stein come to be involved in the film?
Well, John had a real insight, we believe, into the necessity to have a
person, first of all, who wasn’t overtly Christian or overtly religious
and also someone who had a comic element to their personality or their
repertoire, but also an intellectual. Well, that kind of limits the
field. There aren’t that many of those folks out there.
Ben became acquainted with what we were doing, he got excited because
he began to see a connection between our exploration and sanctity of
life issues. He’s a very, very strong pro-life advocate. He has a high
view of human dignity and human sanctity. And he saw a connection
between what we were exploring, and sanctity of life issues and the
historical elements of the eugenics movement, and especially as a
Jewish person, the eugenics movement as it morphed into the Nazi racial
TEXAN: How do you answer those who charge that
ID is simply a Trojan horse for getting six-day biblical creationism
taught in public schools?
CRAFT: That’s fanciful to the point of
comedy. Understand that although all the producers are Christians and
we have, let’s say, complementary views about most moral issues, I
can’t say we came to this project with any uniform view or underlying
TEXAN: Why do you think intelligent design is such a lightning-rod issue with the academic establishment?
ID is a threat to the Darwinian establishment because ID really is a
scientific rather than theological discipline. Intelligent design as a
scientific arena of exploration, inquiry and research—it doesn’t
reference any divine test. It doesn’t even reference any natural
philosophy that tries the explain God, per se. The public—wherever they
are on the spectrum of how things started and developed, whether it was
in six days and the world is 10,000 years old or whether it was a
longer process—the number of people who actually understand and then
buy into the Darwinian theory is very small.
The reason ID is a
lightning rod is because ID threatens that foundational mechanism of
Darwinism. It threatens the mechanics of random mutation and it
threatens what we maintain is a metaphysical position of Darwinism, not
a scientific position that it is an undesigned, random process.
Intelligent design says, look, there is design in these structures in
nature and the intelligence that we know more and more and more about
every week now related to what is driving the structures, that’s
designed. It’s obviously designed. It’s extremely plausible that this
is a designed structure. Intelligent design doesn’t even address within
the scientific inquiry the existence of a Designer, capital D, it’s
merely trying to say, “Look, when we come to studying phenomena in
nature, we have basically been given a template where we must not study
phenomena with any sort of design presuppositions.”
saying that’s becoming more and more untenable based on what we see in
the DNA, the operations of the cell, the intelligence of the cell, the
code that’s driving structures and driving changes—this has got to be
designed. Let’s look at it from a design perspective. Random mutation
may have made sense to Darwin 150 years ago, but that’s because he
thought the cell was protoplasm. He didn’t know about the unbelievable
intricacy and complexity of the cell and the machines working in the
cell and the duplication and replication and regeneration going on in
the cell. He didn’t know about that. How is that code and that
intelligence going to mutate along the lines of a Darwinian framework?
becoming more and more implausible. Science has become captive to an
overarching philosophy of scientific materialism, and we believe
science became captive to that predominantly through the propagation of
the theory of Darwinism, especially the theory of Darwinism resting on
its mechanics, which is random mutation, chance, and purposelessness in
the complexity of the development of life forms.
design, you see, goes right for the jugular and challenges that
assumption, which then shakes the foundation which science has become
captive to. If there is design in nature, it does beg the metaphysical
question, does it not? If it’s design, is it nature itself doing this,
or is there a designer? That’s what the Darwinists who are committed
atheists do not like. They hate that.
TEXAN: I understand that
William Dembski, formerly at Baylor, is in this film, as well as Robert
Marks of Baylor. What was your reaction when you discovered the
resistance to intelligent design research at places like Baylor or SMU?
That’s no surprise. To me, the long history of religiously founded
universities and colleges in the United States is typically one of the
ultimate capturing of the colleges and universities by the progressive
secularists. I think you see that at Baylor partly. You see that at SMU
The state universities and colleges are a
different animal. What we see here is a struggle for a religiously
founded university to maintain its credibility to the larger academic
world and frequently that has come by simply being co-opted by whatever
the zeitgeist of the day is, in this case, this commitment to
scientific materialism. And so I think that Baylor and SMU don’t easily
have structures set up where those kinds of positions can be resisted
at the institutional level. That’s the problem. It’s not that there are
not academics or scientists or people like Marks or Dembski at these
schools, it’s at the institutional level—the same thing we see
happening in science—that the high ground and levers of power are
captured by people who are sympathetic to or embrace a materialistic
TEXAN: What’s the most egregious example of discrimination on this issue that you’ve seen thus far?
We have a whole portfolio of some the 150 scientists we interviewed on
both sides of this issue and even more educators who have been
persecuted. I think the most egregious example today is Guillermo
Gonzales, who is in the film. And the reason that is so egregious is
because he is such an exemplary scientist and astronomer. And his view
that the physical cosmos, the universe, the galaxies, reveal a
structure of design, and for that alone that he would be denied tenure
at a very prestigious state university [Iowa State], a man who has
discovered two planets, and certain contributions he has made to the
field of astronomy are groundbreaking—to me he’s the most egregious
example of discrimination, even though he wasn’t fired.
is kind of like a modern-day Copernicus or Galileo, but on the other
side of the issue. Now it’s not the church overreaching the realm of
its expertise and persecuting scientists, it’s just the opposite.
People are always using that as an example of the church, but that was
500 years ago or more. That’s not the world we live in now. The shoe is
on the other foot. The secularists are persecuting religious people.
TEXAN: What would you say to a public school educator or untenured professor with doubts about Darwinian dogma?
We asked Guillermo that question in the film. He says two things:
First, they’d be smart if they’re concerned about their career and
their advancement to be quiet. On the other hand, he says, “My hope is
that enough independent scientists and academics will stand up and say
‘Look, let’s admit to everyone what’s going on here in science, that
science is making metaphysical and religious and spiritual claims.’”
Anti-religious and anti-spiritual claims are still faith based, not
empirically based. That’s inappropriate. And science has become captive
to a theory that has overextended its reach. So he says, “If you’re
concerned about your career, be quiet. If you have concerns about the
common good and the welfare of humanity, speak up.” And I can
understand why most scientists who have trouble with Darwinism—and they
have just gotten their Ph.D. and they’re 33 and they have two little
infants and a wife who’s been working and putting them through school
and is ready to stay at home with the children—why they shut up. And
you can hardly blame them, right? And we have people telling us that
story on the phone.
TEXAN: Any predictions, five or 10 years out, where we’ll be in this controversy?
I think it’s possible that the social conservatives either as
independents or within the Republican Party will begin to make this a
part of their educational platform to say “Look, let’s open up the
debate here and let’s stop allowing one metaphysical viewpoint to shut
down discussion within colleges and universities and within high
think the public, once they understand more and more what Darwinian
evolution represents, I think they will reject that and move against
it. I think Darwin, in my opinion, whatever his contributions were—and
I think he did make contributions, particularly in the area of
microevolution—he represents one of the big three of hypermodernity, of
which we have Marx and Freud. I call them the three bearded men, or ZZ
Top of the 19th century.
I think Freud has largely been relegated to a part of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, where in the past he was
psychiatry and psychoanalysis. I think Marx, his theory which used to
be the reigning orthodoxy in the departments of economics and most
universities around the world has now been discredited, and his
contributions to economics have now been relegated to those areas where
he really did make contributions and insights, and that’s a very small
piece of territory.
That’s a necessary
contraction that’s required with these leaders of modernity who have
been used as platforms for the secular progressives. Marx and Freud
have already been contracted, and I think Darwin is on his way to being
contracted. And I think that’s a good thing. I think there’s been too
much adulation and far, far too much credence given to their theories
as grand, sweeping meta-narratives to explain origin, life, the human
soul and human economics.
Darwin’s theory has been revised
such that it looks less and less like his theory, but it still has his
name on it. Less and less the information we’re receiving through the
study of phenomena doesn’t uphold his theory because his theory’s too
simple to explain how life develops. And nobody has a credible theory,
scientifically, of how life originated. No one. The Darwinists admit it
on the phone. There is no scientific theory for human or life origins.
Nobody knows how inorganic transformed into organic. We know what we
believe as religious people—“Well, God did it.” That’s not a scientific
answer. That’s a metaphysical answer, which I think is the right
answer. But how it actually happened mechanically, no one knows. And
that’s an interesting point when you have a theory of life development
such as Darwinism, which doesn’t have any theory of the origin of life