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Ben Stein, the lovable, monotone teacher from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Wonder Years” is back in the classroom in a major motion picture release slated for February 2008.

But this time, the actor will be on the big screen asking one of life’s biggest questions: “Were we designed, or are we simply the end result of an ancient mud puddle struck by lightning?”

That’s right. Evolution – and the explosive debate over its virtual monopoly on America’s public school classrooms – is the focus of the film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.”

In the movie, Stein, who is also a lawyer, economist, former presidential speechwriter, author and social commentator, is stunned by what he discovers – an elitist scientific establishment that has traded in its skepticism for dogma. Even worse, say publicists for the feature film, “along the way, Stein uncovers a long line of biologists, astronomers, chemists and philosophers who have had their reputations destroyed and their careers ruined by a scientific establishment that allows absolutely no dissent from Charles Darwin’s theory of random mutation and natural selection.”

“Big Science in this area of biology has lost its way,” says Stein. “Scientists are supposed to be allowed to follow the evidence wherever it may lead, no matter what the implications are. Freedom of inquiry has been greatly compromised, and this is not only anti-American, it’s anti-science. It’s anti-the whole concept of learning.”

As “Expelled’s” official website asks: “What freedom-loving student wouldn’t be outraged to discover that his high school science teacher is teaching a theory as indisputable fact, and that university professors unmercifully crush any fellow scientists who dare question the prevailing system of belief? This isn’t the latest Hollywood comedy; it’s a disturbing new documentary that will shock anyone who thinks all scientists are free to follow the evidence wherever it may lead.”

“Expelled” is produced by Premise Media, and being marketed by Motive Entertainment, which has spearheaded major previous Hollywood blockbusters, including “The Passion of the Christ,” “Polar Express” and “The Chronicles of Narnia.” It will be distributed by Rocky Mountain Pictures, with numerous box-office successes to its credit.

“Expelled” documents how teachers and scientists alike are being ridiculed daily, denied tenure and even fired believing there is evidence of “design” in nature and challenging the current orthodoxy that life is entirely a result of random chance.

For example, Stein meets Richard Sternberg, a double Ph.D. biologist who allowed a peer-reviewed research paper describing the evidence for intelligence in the universe to be published in the scientific journal Proceedings. Shortly after publication, officials from the National Center for Science Education and the Smithsonian Institution, where Sternberg was a research fellow, began a coordinated smear-and-intimidation campaign to get the promising young scientist fired. The attack on scientific freedom was so egregious that it prompted a congressional investigation.

In the film, Stein meets other scientists like astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez, who was denied tenure at Iowa State University in spite of an extraordinary record of achievement. Gonzalez made the mistake of documenting the design he has observed in the universe. And there are others, like Caroline Crocker, a brilliant biology teacher at George Mason University who was forced out of the university for briefly discussing problems with Darwinian theory and for telling the students that some scientists believe there is evidence of design in the universe.

Unlike other popular documentary films, “Expelled” isn’t one-sided – it confronts scientists like Oxford evolutionist Richard Dawkins, author of “The God Delusion,” influential biologist and atheist blogger P.Z. Myers, and Eugenie Scott, head of the National Center for Science Education. In fact, the creators of “Expelled” spent two years traveling the world and interviewing scores of scientists, doctors, philosophers and public leaders for the film.

According to the New York Times, Dawkins, Scott and other evolutionists are now claiming the film’s producers deceived them into going on camera by hiding the “Intelligent Design” orientation of the film.

But Stein denies misleading anyone. “I don’t remember a single person asking me what the movie was about,” he told the Times.

In the end, say the film’s publicists, the production delivers to viewers “a startling revelation that freedom of thought and freedom of inquiry have been expelled from publicly funded high schools, universities and research institutions.”

“The incredible thing about ‘Expelled’ is that we don’t resort to manipulating our interviews for the purpose of achieving the ‘shock effect,’ something that has become common in documentary film these days,” said Walt Ruloff, co-founder of Premise Media and the film’s co-executive producer. “People will be stunned to actually find out what elitist scientists proclaim, which is that a large majority of Americans are simpletons who believe in a fairy tale. Premise Media took on this difficult mission because we believe the greatest asset of humanity is our freedom to explore and discover truth.”

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Editor’s note: The current edition of Whistleblower magazine, “THE RISE OF ATHEIST AMERICA,” is a cutting-edge look at the growth of God-denial in the U.S., including the central role of government-mandated indoctrination in the theory of evolution. Find out more about “THE RISE OF ATHEIST AMERICA.”

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