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Watchdog groups are condemning a new anti-evolution film that suggests Darwinism gave rise to Nazism and the Holocaust. “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” a documentary hosted by Jewish television personality Ben Stein, opened in more than 1,000 theaters April 18 and grossed $5.3 million its first 10 days. Produced by Premise Media, which is devoted to the family and faith markets, the film alleges that creationism and its supporters have been unfairly silenced by “Big Science.” The film shows Nazi footage of a German mental hospital that urged the elimination of “mental deficients” and mass graves at Dachau. The narration draws a parallel between these atrocities and Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” theory.

The Anti-Defamation League blasted the film Tuesday, saying in a statement that it “misappropriates the Holocaust and its imagery as part of its political effort to discredit the scientific community.” The ADL adds, “Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people.” The Oakland, Calif-based National Center for Science Education, which defends the teaching of evolution in the public schools, has “had its eye on” the film for a few months, according to spokeswoman Susan Spath. “We are concerned about the long-term impact of this film and its irresponsible misrepresentation of a terrible history,” she said. “It propagates the message that Nazis were Darwinist, with the implication that today’s Darwinists are proto-Nazis, and that’s not OK.” Reviewers have widely trounced the film. The Village Voice called it “bizarre and hysterical.”

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