Scientists Are Murderers

Ben Dreidel sat through a Ben Stein interview on the Trinity Broadcasting Network so you don’t have to.

(If you’re curious, go here, click on the “Behind the Scenes” tab, and go to the video for April 21th.)

It’s amazing how many shock-inducing things Stein says to host Paul Crouch, Jr. regarding the theory of evolution and science in general when he doesn’t think non-Christians are watching.

A few excerpts (courtesy of Ben D.) are below.

Look at the last ones, especially:

Ben Stein: … I also started reading more about a subject that had long interested me, the connection of Darwinism with Nazism, and the fact that Nazism had rested in large part on the idea of Darwinism, that there are superior and inferior races, and that the superior ones deserve to live and they should stamp out the inferior ones…

Crouch: What can people of faith do? What do you hope comes from this film?

Stein: Well, we hope that people who have children in schools will tell their children that if the teacher says Darwinism created everything and that there is no explanation for anything in the scientific world except Darwinism, that the student will say, well, Ms. Smith — or whatever the teacher’s name is — how did life begin? What keeps the planets in their orbits? Is there any proof of a separate species ever being seen to evolve?

Stein: We’re saying teach what is… what the evidence takes you to. I mean, the evidence does not take you to Darwinism about, uh, about, uh, as to the foundations of life. Darwin just had nothing to say about that. The evidence doesn’t take you to Darwinism about astronomy or about the laws of physics or of thermodynamics.

Stein: When we just saw that man, I think it was Mr. [PZ] Myers, talking about how great scientists were, I was thinking to myself the last time any of my relatives saw scientists telling them what to do they were telling them to go to the showers to get gassed.

Stein (speaking about the Holocaust): …that was horrifying beyond words, and that’s where science — in my opinion, this is just an opinion — that’s where science leads you.

Crouch: That’s right.

Stein: … Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people.

Crouch: Good word, good word.

You’ve got to be *%&^ing kidding me.

[tags]atheist, atheism, PZ Myers, Expelled[/tags]

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    I am shocked.

  • wowwtf

    I love how he says that Darwin had nothing to say about those topics, and yet he says to denounce “Darwinism” because it’s wrong on those topics. This is total bullshit. Ben Stein lies more than a used car salesman.

    I’m gonna go read fstdt.com for a bit and see if I can throw up, I don’t feel like going to school tomorrow(I want vacation back).

  • http://uillinois.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2252245006 Citizen Steve

    PZ Myers linked to a good response to some of the claims made in this interview. Here tis.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihYq2dGa29M&eurl=http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/

  • I like tea

    What keeps the planets in their orbits? That’s not exactly a question that evolution aims to answer. I suspect that this is the typical creationist tactic (actually, it’s probably not a tactic, just ignorance) of conflating any and all ideas that they disagree with into “Darwinism.” That’s why you’ll hear creationists talking about astronomy, geology, archeology, and calling it all Darwinism.

    Of course, gravity and inertia keeping the planets in their orbits doesn’t even have anything to do with the universe being 14 billion years old (which is, of course, the main beef that creationists have with astronomy, and hence why astronomers fall under the same ignorant “Darwinism” umbrella as biologists). So what exactly is Stein getting at here, other than providing an example of his own stupidity?

  • D

    Yeah. I remember reading that when the video first surfaced.

    Can people honestly take Ben Stein seriously anymore? (have people ever taken him seriously?)

  • Kathryn

    The man obviously doesn’t know anything about Darwinism. Is this seriously the best they can come up with?

  • Cathy

    Darwin, the man, did make repeated racist and misogynist comments, he just had no stated opinion on genocide. Modern biology has moved away from many of Darwin’s ideas. As I like to say, Darwin’s racism doesn’t make evolution inherantly racist any more than Thomas Jefferson’s racism makes deomocracy inherantly racist. As for Hitler, Nazi propaganda books given to children said that god created germans and the devil created jews and monkeys (sounds like a creationist to me). Hitler also banned prominent works of science and was fond of blaming Germany’s problems on “Jewish intellectuals”. He also said that he was enacting the will of God by killing Jewish people, who he often referred to as “Christ Killers”. Many of his early anti-jewish methods were derived from Martin Luther (guy who started protestantism)’s book entitled “On Jews and Their Lies.” Christians need to face facts, Hitler was one of theirs, they should stop blaming us.

  • Richard Wade

    Stein is a hypocrite. He accepts all the benefits of science but when that same method of understanding the world does not flatter his pride, does not verify his fantasies and does not soothe his childish fears then he denounces it. The food in his belly, the medicine in his veins, the clothes on his back, even the glasses on his nose were all brought to him by science. His life is longer, healthier, more satisfying and safer thanks to science, but he doesn’t want to accept any of the responsibility that goes with those gifts.

    If he distrusts science so much, let him go live in the forest wearing the skins of animals that he killed with a rock. No chipping into sharp tools, please. That’s technology and that leads to, well you know, (whispering) The “s” word.

  • Siamang

    Linda said:

    I am shocked.

    Frankly, I’m not. I saw this movie. This is exactly what the movie says, but a little more cagily.

    I was thinking to myself the last time any of my relatives saw scientists telling them what to do they were telling them to go to the showers to get gassed.

    This is an outrage. I say it’s time for any and all scientists (including doctors) to stop giving Mr. Stein health advice. After all, can he be SURE they’re not atheistic darwinist nazis who have poisoned his bladder-control medication?

  • http://ichthyologistbright.blogspot.com Laurie Soule

    Hemant,
    I’ve found that Fracking and Frelling both work well as substitutes… :-)

    My husband and I are wondering if Ben Stein is suffering from some sort of dementia. He just seems to be less and less coherent. Of course, I don’t think I ever saw him do anything else. I never even saw Ferris Bueller. He’s probably always been this way.

    Linda,

    I say it’s time for any and all scientists (including doctors) to stop giving Mr. Stein health advice.

    Unfortunately, that would make us as bad as he is.

  • http://www.nautblog.blogspot.com Sean the Blogonaut

    I think Jews should be up in arms and calling for his blood when he misrepresents the holocaust like this.

    I wonder what was on the belt buckles of the german soldiers as they carried out the executions oh that’s right “Gott mit uns” god is with us.

    He also seems to forget that intellectuals and atheists were gassed by Hitler as well.

  • Fideism

    Is it just me, or does anyone have trouble taking Ben Stein seriously? His characters were always spoofs and outrageous exaggerations. He was funny as a boring teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. He was funny as a eye drop commercial spokesperson. And now I think he’s downright hilarious, to the point of unbelievability. I suspect he actually believes the things he says, but I can’t get over the fact it’s Ben Stein, famous for being laughed at, saying more stupid things.

    ad hominem I know :P

  • Christophe Thill

    Yes, we all know about the SS (Science Staff) leading the Jews to their death in the extermination camps. Their black uniforms were a direct (although inverted) allusion to their usual white lab coats.

    Isn’t Ben Stein sickened by his own lies ?

  • mikespeir

    “Darwinism created everything”? Huh?

  • MercuryBlue

    the idea of Darwinism, that there are superior and inferior races

    Correct me if I’m mistaken, but wasn’t there slavery before Darwin?

    that the superior ones deserve to live and they should stamp out the inferior ones

    Social Darwinism != Darwinism. Get used to it.

    if the teacher says Darwinism created everything and that there is no explanation for anything in the scientific world except Darwinism, that the student will say, well, Ms. Smith — or whatever the teacher’s name is — how did life begin? What keeps the planets in their orbits? Is there any proof of a separate species ever being seen to evolve?

    The theory of biological evolution, which is apparently the only one Stein is concerned with as Darwin had nothing to do with, for example, the theory of stellar evolution, does not answer the questions of abiogenesis, nor was it meant to. The theory of gravity answers the questions of planetary orbits very nicely, which is good because the theory of biological evolution has nothing to do with astrophysics either. Speciation has indeed been observed to occur, just as, oddly enough, the theory of biological evolution says it should.

    the evidence does not take you to Darwinism about, uh, about, uh, as to the foundations of life. Darwin just had nothing to say about that. The evidence doesn’t take you to Darwinism about astronomy or about the laws of physics or of thermodynamics.

    Again: Theory of biological evolution, biology. Astronomy and physics: not biology. (Ignoring astrobiology for a moment, but something tells me he’s never heard of the field anyway, except possibly in one of the interviews for Expelled that he didn’t pay any attention to except to pick out things he could misquote.) And again: the theory of biological evolution starts with the assumption that life already exists. Thus, abiogenesis is outside the area that the theory of biological evolution explains. Odd how no one but creationists have any more of a problem with that than with the theory of gravity not explaining the laws of thermodynamics.

    Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science, like a knife, is a tool that can be used for killing people, for healing people, or for simple everyday tasks, none of which reflects on the moral value of the tool.

    Fixed that for him.

    I feel better now.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Laurie Soule,

    Unfortunately, that would make us as bad as he is.

    Umm… I think you meant to address siamang.

  • I like tea

    Darwin, the man, did make repeated racist and misogynist comments

    He was also staunchly anti-slavery.

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  • http://ichthyologistbright.blogspot.com Laurie Soule

    Sorry Linda,
    I apologize profusely. Reminder to self – find glasses…

  • Polly

    I think I’m going to throw up. That was awful. I started off counting the errors in facts / logic and then just gave up by paragraph two.

    Isn’t Ben S. Jewish? Why is hanging around all these Xian Fundies anyway? I HAD to, that’s my excuse. :)

    BTW – I saw Ben Stein at the Rancho Mirage Borders bookstore. I didn’t say anything but someone else recognized him but wasn’t able to remember his name. He introduced himself to the guy. He really does talk in that monotone off camera, too.

  • http://the-malignant-narcissist.blogspot.com/ Hitek

    I saw that piece of trash movie at a 10pm viewing the day it came out. I wasn’t surprised at the low turnout, but I did come across a poor fellow who believed the movie “hit many nails on the head”, as he said.

    This movie was probably the most poorly-constructed pile of rubbish I’ve ever seen, and reading that interview transcript is even more disheartening. What made me the angriest about the movie is that Ben Stein blatantly abuses his religious beliefs in order to make a (incorrect) point.

    I’m not religious myself, but when I see people invoke the Holocaust and feign being hurt because of science…that boils my blood.

  • http://darwinsdagger.blogspot.com Darwin’s Dagger
  • Rickie

    I’ve patiently been reading this blog for a few weeks now. I honestly believe that most of the contributors commit the same misrepresentations that are leveled against Christians. What is presented is at best stereotypes and ad hominen attacks. Perhaps the most ridiculous is the blatant belief that unless you agree with the views expressed on this blog you are closed minded, as though agreeing only with the opinions voiced here means one in critically minded. Notably, you are proving the heart of Stein’s documentary correct, which in fact, was not meant to examine the evidence for evolution but to expose the close mindedness that led to the expulsion of some scientists, not necessarily Christian, who reached a different conclusion than the accepted line of thinking. After an evaluation of an endless regress of naturalistic mechanisms some secularly educated, non-Christians, were compelled to believe that perhaps a self-sufficient cause (nonnaturalistic) or God exists…gasp! Whose not thinking critically, hum?

  • Siamang

    Perhaps the most ridiculous is the blatant belief that unless you agree with the views expressed on this blog you are closed minded, as though agreeing only with the opinions voiced here means one in critically minded.

    Who here believes that? Name names and cite where they say such a thing.

    Otherwise you are engaging in baseless accusations.

    Many of us here HAVE seen the film in question. If you have too, please engage us on the evidence presented in the film, and we can have discussion about how truthfully the filmmakers presented the facts.

    If you haven’t, but don’t like our tone, please contribute better tone. Lead by example. Change the tone here for the better by adding your contribution. But don’t drop in without engaging us as equals or peers, merely to condemn us and treat us with contempt.

    We’ve never met you. You’ve never posted here before. But instead of an introduction… instead of a question… instead of allowing us the courtesy of merest civility of any social pleasantry, you come here to make enemies and tell all of us off.

    You aren’t contributing to a positive tone. As Gandhi said “be the change you wish to see in the world.” Welcome friend, to a dialog, if you will have it. A friendly one, if you will set the tone. An enriching one, if you choose to share your understanding.

    Or we can have a bitter, divisive and angering one, which you can decide as well. This rant has been your introduction to us, Rickie. Can you help us see you as anything but angry and bitter?

    Welcome, friend, if you desire friendship and conversation.

  • http://conspiracyfactory.blogspot.com factician

    science leads you to killing people.

    As a scientist, I can hardly remember the last time I killed anyone.

    Did I miss something?

  • Richard Wade

    Hey factician, maybe you’ve been slacking off. ;) I’ve killed many, and I’m just a science popularizer. If slaying superstitions counts then we’re great extinctors.

    Nice website by the way.

  • http://anothermonkey.blogspot.com Harold

    Sheesh, after reading even that little bit of the transcript, suddenly the Tom Cruise “Scientologists are the only ones who can help at auto accidents” video is looking less crazy.

    Perhaps Tom Cruise, Ben Stein, and Mel Gibson can all work on a project together sometime?

  • http://atheists.meetup.com/531 Ben

    http://scienceblogs.com/tfk/2008/04/adl_decries_ben_steins_holocau.php

    New York, NY, April 29, 2008 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today issued the following statement regarding the controversial film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

    The film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed misappropriates the Holocaust and its imagery as a part of its political effort to discredit the scientific community which rejects so-called intelligent design theory.

    Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people and Darwin and evolutionary theory cannot explain Hitler’s genocidal madness.

    Using the Holocaust in order to tarnish those who promote the theory of evolution is outrageous and trivializes the complex factors that led to the mass extermination of European Jewry.

  • Hugo

    Thank goodness religion can only lead us to the Crusades and IRA bombings.

    (Okay, yes. This is like a variation on Godwin’s law. But God created Hitler so I win.)

  • Darryl

    Rickie, you’re a sniper: you hide behind your computer and take shots at people from out of the blue. I think you’ll find that people here are fair, but firm. They’ll give you reasons for their opinions, but they expect you to do the same. They are not impressed by your batting around a few technical terms. They’ve heard pretty much all the usual arguments before–heck, they used some of them in past lives! So, just dial it down a bit. They may be confident, but they don’t “expel” people from this site for disagreement. They can be reasoned with (note the operative word there). I’ve found them a pretty nice bunch of people. (Oh, just a word or advice: don’t tangle with the likes of Siamang or Miko; I’ve seen them shred uppity folks before–it’s not pretty)

    As to Mr. Stein, the worst thing you can say about him is that he is likely lying. I’ve observed him over the years, and he doesn’t strike me as a stupid, gullible, naive, ignorant person, which is what he’d have to be to really mean what he is saying. So, I must conclude that he shares that trait that all power-hungry radical conservatives seem to share these days: he’s a damn liar.

  • http://iloveteh.biz/ James W.

    Science, not God, told the Israelites they were the chosen people and Science told them to invade the Philistines. Science told the Israelites that they were the superior race.

    In this matter, world Jewry has been led astray by science — not God — for thousands of years! No wonder they go stuck in the freaking desert for 40 years. They were trying to use Science, not God’s word, to devise a plan to get out!

  • jack

    Ben Stein suggests children ask “What keeps the planets in their orbits?”, when a teacher proposes the idea of natural selection?

    Well apparently the answer is that it’s the immense gravitational force of stupidity located deep within Ben Stein and any kid who would ask that in response to being told about evolution.

  • Lara

    Wait, What? Does he even know what science is? I thought the whole point of the movie was to show that ID is a creditable part of the scientific community.

  • Rob

    science leads you to killing people.

    Oh come come Mr. Steiner.

    You can’t discount the number of dead killed in the name of religion. It has had atleast a couple of thousand years head start.

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  • http://atheists.meetup.com/531 Ben

    I thought the whole point of the movie was to show that ID is a creditable part of the scientific community.

    The goal of ID proponents is to roll back the enlightenment. Take a look at the Wedge Strategy.

  • K

    “Ben Dreidel sat through a Ben Stein interview on the Trinity Broadcasting Network so you don’t have to.”

    Translated.

    “Ben Dreidel sat through a Ben Stein interview so that you can be spoon fed out of context quotes and be spared the inconvenience of thinking for yourself.”

    Am I religious? Do I agree with Ben Stein? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that in America today we group with people who are of like opinion to us, and rarely does anyone give any opinion other than their own and SERIOUS thought. Christian, atheist, gay, straight, rich, poor. We whine and complain about people who disagree with us on blogs to make ourselves feel righteous. Get a life.

  • http://skorohnomis.blogspot.com/ Simon

    Religion appeals to the peasant villager’s way of thinking. The “everyone knows” way of thinking. eg: “gays are unnatural” or “people are not monkeys”

  • Ian

    If nothing else, this film and subsequent (lack of) reaction has shown how irrelevant the nonsense really is, which Ben Stein and his friends are trying to peddle. In my opinion actual scientists should simply stop entering into discourse about this subject. It gives the shoddily nailed together constuct referred to as ID a small validation it does not even deserve.
    The most unfortunate aspect of all of this is that a small group of children will have to spend years ‘deprogramming’ themselves later in life, sadly.

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  • Brendan

    God I love syllogistic logic:

    Mengele & Co. killed innocent people by gassing them and eviscerating them alive.
    Mengele was a scientist.
    Therefore, all scientists kill innocent people by gassing them and eviscerating them alive.

    Nice! By that same logic:

    A table has four legs
    All dogs have four legs
    Therefore, all dogs are tables.

    I think you understand my point.

  • NJAZ

    Hey …Win Ben Stein’s Money? Who’s got their claws in this nut job. It’s all a ploy … if folks can be swayed by this chump – which certainly happens – a number of other mindless schools of thought are being frequented. Why this dichotomy of fanaticism between the spirit and the mind – isn’t there a common ground? It’s like when I listen to Bob Marley and I feel the spirit – I seriously question my atheistic compulsion. Yes – scientists do kill indirectly and directly … but living is dying. The system must break down. It’s logic and spirit. Don’t let Ben’s vision trouble you – he is only a distraction … all he ever was. It’s goof balls like this who get a little out of all involved, got you all upset even got me thinking bout it … Win Ben Stein’s Money …

    Change gonna come.

  • http://www.robhoofd.com/ robhoofd

    Wow. I mean, wow. Stein is getting more and more deluded every day. He seems to be unconcerned with ID altogether now, it’s just “Science = HITLER!”

  • George

    So science leads to the holocaust? Is that right, Ben?

    Since the holocaust hurt you so badly, and science is to blame, maybe you should stop driving that car of yours. Throw out the film you used to make this piece of trash movie, the audio equipment used to record it, and all of the projectors used to display it (they’ll probably thank you), because those are all thanks to the “nazi” science. When you’re on your deathbed, will you turn down treatment and walk bravely into the dark, or will you be begging the doctor to up your dosage?

    I can’t stand how two-faced these extremists are, rambling on about the glory that is a life of worship, while denouncing the benefits of science- but you don’t ever see them living without it.

    So what is it? Does science actually have a use to your holier-than-thou soul, or are you a poor servant to your god?

  • http://www.google.com The Truth

    I think fundamentalist christians should never be allowed to access computers.

    Every comment you idiots make like I “science caused war and I didnt come from no damn monkeys or whatever” serves only to kill a little braincell in my brain from your utter stupidity.

    Oh and former speechwriter for Nixon, Ben Stein, can go fuck himself.

  • Karona

    People like him are the sole reason why society is dumbing down.

  • http://www.google.com Also The Truth

    The existence of the iPhone, arguably Science’s greatest marvel, completely throws Ben Steins UNINFORMED OPINION of Science down the metaphorical toilet where it belongs.

  • wcoenen

    When my grandfather talks about the german army marching into (a belgian) town, he always describes how they had the text

    Gott mit uns

    on their uniforms. Must be german for “I heart darwinism”.

  • NoAstronomer

    “Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people.”

    His crap was pretty insane before, now he’s just hallucinating.

  • andy magoo

    write where do i start, ah yes stein,what a compete and utter dick. who let this moron out of the nut house. Darwin/science were the cause of the holocaust (i just miss spelled holocaust and my spell check suggested it should be catholic) 95% of Germany before and during the war where catholic, the catholic church even gave Hitler it’s blessing, the pope him self was all for it. they knew they were going to to make a lot of money out of it. oh and get rid of one of their rivals. and the pope they have now was in the Hitler youth for crying out loud. No science is not the problem here religion is all religion. it is followed by morons run by morons, the people of the earth would do a lot better without it. All of it.

  • cipher

    The thing that kills me as I read this is that Stein is talking about his relatives who died in the Holocaust to someone who believes that they are all currently burning in hell.

    No wonder they go stuck in the freaking desert for 40 years. They were trying to use Science, not God’s word, to devise a plan to get out!

    James W. – the reason we got stuck in the desert for forty years is that the men refused to stop and ask for directions!

  • Koshalitarenstein Dicdreidel

    Boys, Ben Stein is totally focked.

  • HidariMak

    K, you were also given the direct link to the entire video, in the same piece that you are criticizing as being opinionated, spoon-fed, and grossly out of context. And I didn’t see a single part of that video which would make the quoted components seem at all sane or rational. Since you didn’t bring any backing to your statement, I’m going to assume that you’re just speaking out of biased ignorance, until I see otherwise.

    Also, don’t you find it hypocritical that you post on a blog with views different from your own, insult those who agree with the statement posted in the blog, and tell them to “get a life” for not having your view instead? Again, that’s not out of context.

  • Polly

    The thing that kills me as I read this is that Stein is talking about his relatives who died in the Holocaust to someone who believes that they are all currently burning in hell.

    The cognitive dissonance is mind-boggling isn’t it! On BOTH sides. Until, you realize that all of this is just politics and they are convenient bedfellows.

    But what about the sheep?

    My mother LOVES Israel (she’s visited the Holy Land) and the Jewish people to the point that she says she wishes she were one because they are the “chosen people.” But, when I point out that they don’t believe in Jesus X so according to her beliefs they’re on their way to Hell she just brushes that off. She doesn’t seem to register the contradiction. I think it’s Hagee’s influence. She listens to that guy every week. Another Pol behind the pulpit.

  • Z. Breeble

    I don’t quite understand alot of you people…

    You bash Ben Stein for what he came out and said (BS IMO)… But you take Al Gore at face value… (also BS).

    Why do you only come out to “fight” when religion is involved?

  • cipher

    My mother LOVES Israel (she’s visited the Holy Land) and the Jewish people to the point that she says she wishes she were one because they are the “chosen people.”

    I was hearing this from evangelicals in college over thirty years ago.

    when I point out that they don’t believe in Jesus X so according to her beliefs they’re on their way to Hell she just brushes that off. She doesn’t seem to register the contradiction. I think it’s Hagee’s influence.

    My understanding is that a lot of them rationalize it away. Example – one “Messianic Jewish” believer I read about believes that Jesus appears to every Jew on his/her deathbed and gives him/her one last chance. When asked, “What happens if they reject him?”, she replied, “Jesus appears to you and offers you eternal paradise; what are you gonna do – say no? Come on!”

    Hagee, upon being pressed, has stated publicly that he doesn’t believe in “dual covenant” theology – we Jews no longer have a salvific deal with God. You can’t get into heaven without Jesus, period. So, Hagee “loves” us – but, on the Day of Judgment, that “love” will get turned off, like a light switch, as he toddles off happily to heaven. We’ll have served our purpose, I guess.

    This is why it kills me that conservative Jews are so eager and willing to work with Hagee and his ilk. It’s completely inappropriate.

  • AndyD

    The best thing that can possibly come out of Stein’s incoherent, inconsistent, misguided, flawed, vulgar, defamatory (enough adjectives) comments on these talk shows is for them to awaken more people to the potential horrors of allowing ID into our kids’ lives.

    If it wasn’t for his talkback interviews (and Youtube), I’d still know little about the ID debate (I’m in Oz and I haven’t paid any attention to it until this last week). Hopefully a lot of other people with only a passing interest will be sitting up straight and paying attention to the Expelled nonsense now.

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  • Cbird

    I’m just glad this movie has gone out with a wimper rather than a bang.

  • Craig

    I’m a Christian (though not of the fundamentalist variety) and was only linked to this page through reddit. Regardless, I used to respect Mr. Stein, but remarks like those above make it rather difficultto continue to do so.

    Has this man never heard about the religious wars between Catholics and Protestants in the Middle Ages?

    Furthermore this man seems to be ignorant of what Darwinism actually states. It does not say that certain species (note: species, not race) are superior; what is states is that the creature with the most advantageous adaptation for the current climate/situation/etc will survive and reproduce most frequently thereby increasing the prevalence of the favorable adaptation in the gene pool. THIS IS DARWINISM. There are several words for what the nazis brought however: ethnic genocide, holocaust, “psuedo-scientific” racism, and religous discrimination to name a few.

    And yes, its clearly the fault of ALL scientists for the gas chambers; even the American and British ones who discovered technologies (such as radar and American bombers) which were essential to defeating the Nazis.

    I could continue, but I just wish that folks like Mr Stein could understand that both good and bad can come out of religion and science. The output of each are dependent upon the intentions of its adherents. Unfortunately, it seems the adherents of Mr Stein’s wing of Christianity are looking to take us back to religous wars and persecutions over ones beliefs.

  • d00d

    Is it at all possible for a religious person to not have a persecution complex?

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  • Ugly American

    FACT: Hitler studied to be a Catholic Priest

    FACT: The monastery where he studied had a coat of arms which included a swastika

    Himmler, head of the SS, was Catholic
    Goebbels was Catholic
    Hoss, the camp commandant of Auschwitz, was Catholic
    Frank, ‘the butcher of Poland’, was Catholic
    Mussolini was Catholic
    Franco was Catholic
    Salazar was Catholic

    Some choice Hitler quotes:

    “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter.”

    “In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders.”

    “To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross.”

    -Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)

  • http://www.brandelion.com/blithe/ bran

    Why do you censor yourself, Friendly Atheist? Fuck is a beautiful word.

    Or do your inserted symbols symbolize something else?

    “You’ve got to be claptrapping kidding me.”
    “You’ve got to be hornswogging kidding me.”
    “You’ve got to be barn-raising kidding me.”

  • cassiopeia

    i think it would be much more effective if people who take up an “anti” scientific point of view were to know the actual science they seem so against. it is abundantly clear through stein’s dialogue that he either has an incorrect understanding of science, or has no understanding of it whatsoever.

    nothing makes a person’s argument less effective than if they are not able to understand both sides presented.

    for those who don’t know science:
    – evolution (and/or Darwinism) does NOT claim to provide an explanation for the creation of life
    – Darwinism has NOTHING to do with physics and astronomy (I am doing my Masters in Astronomy, soon to be doing a PhD, so trust me on this)
    – science on its own does not create terrible things. the government who employs the knowledge is that which controls the outcome
    – more battles have been fought in the name of religion than in the name of science (have there even BEEN any ‘scientific’ wars). religion has actually been the persecutor of scientists in the past (ie. Galileo being put under house arrest by the Church)

    please, choose whichever views are best suited to you, but also take time to understand the other possibilities. in order to make an educated decision, this is imperative

  • Pingback: Ben Stein is a Pig Fucking Shitlord « PowerUp

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  • http://DrBlizzardo.stumbleupon.com Dr. Donald B. MacGowan

    Ben Stein’s email addresses are: editor@spectator.com and BenStein99@AOL.com. Here’s what I wrote to him:

    “Mr Stein:

    I continue to be greatly amused at the reaction your latest film
    “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” engenders. Of course, it is no “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (the acme of your, ahem, “acting career”, I believe); even so, in it’s wake is to be found much hilarity.

    For instance, your public comment: “When we just saw that man, I think it was Mr. [PZ] Myers, talking about how great scientists were, I was thinking to myself the last time any of my relatives saw scientists telling them what to do they were telling them to go to the showers to get gassed.” is intolerably humorous, but sadly offensive and damaging.

    In fact, I am deeply offended and, as a scientist, I believe you have caused permanent damage to my professional reputation and severely compromised my earning ability.

    In Hawaii, libel laws are confusing and damage is hard to prove, unless you are a credentialed professional such as a doctor, attorney, accountant or, yes, a scientist, as I am. In that case, the burden of proof, oddly, is on you to prove your statements were NOT injurious. Lovely place, Hawaii…wonderful tort laws. You, sir, have broken one of the more lucrative ones…I’d be more careful what I say next time.

    If I weren’t so busy laughing my ass off at your utter
    buffoonishness, I would look forward to demonstrating to you, in court, that those jackbooted men with lightning bolts on their collars were, in fact, not scientists at all but SOLDIERS. The confusion between them is easy to make, I know. But they were soldiers, nonetheless, who displayed an unseemly lack of knowledge about not only the consequences of their actions, but also about the people they were venting their hate and frustration upon. As you have just done to me, Mr. Stein. Can you picture what comedy THAT lawsuit would provide–the sheer ignorance, vacuity and viciousness of your comments are the stuff trial lawyers dream of presenting to juries…during the damage-award phase.

    Scientists should not be compared to Nazi’s, Mr.Stein. Ignorant, unthinking and hate-filled bigots such as you should be. To be enlightened about the difference between scientists and Nazis, specifically, I suggest the work of J. Bronowski, a man–a fellow Jew in fact–who has cause to know a great deal more about both scientists and the perpetrators of the Holocaust than, apparently, you do.

    Finally, as the Luddite your comments identify you to be, I assume you have given up all trappings of modern civilization that scientists have brought you over the past 200 years, most especially modern medicine.

    No? Turd.

    Frankly, I had expected somewhat better from you, Mr. Stein…I suspect so had your father. Ahem.

    Aloha (and I mean that)-

    Donald B. MacGowan, PhD.

    ps–Oh–you ask what keeps the planets in their orbits if not god…ahem–I believe most people understand it to be “gravity”, although that, too, is just a “theory”…”

  • http://cantmakeadifference.blogspot.com Steven

    WHAT THE F*$%

  • MikeM

    You know what? No more antibiotics for them.

    That makes me the science Nazi, doesn’t it?

    Here’s the deal, creos: Pray harder the next time you get an infection. Save the effective medicines for which you can credit evolutionary biology for us science Nazis.

    That means you, Stein. I hope that’s just what your doctor tells you: Pray harder.

  • Pingback: Ben Stein Compares Scientists to Nazis | K-Squared Ramblings

  • Disciple of “Bob”

    Frank Zappa’s quote about stupidity being more abundant than hydrogen – and therefore the true basic building block of the universe – comes to mind…

  • Mike

    I am very shocked to have learned of the Wedge Strategy. I’ve learned a lot, thanks everyone for your wonderful observations and comments.
    Wedge Strategy — beware!
    Stein is an idiot.

  • Mike

    Just found this
    http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN0141448220080501

    U.S. reports biggest measles outbreak since 2001

    “Public health officials have been stressing the importance of immunizing children in the face of increasingly vocal groups who object to vaccines for religious reasons or because they think the shots may cause autism or other problems.”

    This is what happens when religion ignores science.

  • HidariMak

    On May 1, 2008 at 3:44 pm, Mike said…

    This is what happens when religion ignores science.

    Even though I’m an atheist, let’s be fair here. This is what happens when people don’t apply critical thinking to reality. (I won’t call them “idiots”, because intelligence and critical thinking aren’t always linked.) Although critical thinking is probably common in deciding to become an atheist/naturalist, some atheists have fallen for this, while some religious people haven’t.

  • Tim

    I just stumbled on your site for the first time and I’d like to know who you consider Jesus to be. Trying to write off Ben Stein as (fill-in-the-blank) may or may not be easy. However, I would encourage you to consider who Jesus was. Do you take him to be a fallacy? Or real but just a man or woman like you and I? Maybe a convincing prophet but not divine?

    I encourage you to research and answer the question honestly, without regard for how Christians have or have not represented Jesus.

  • Siamang

    Tim,

    Are you interested in dialog here, or just posting a “gotcha”?

    Lots, and lots of Christians post here once, then leave. I’m tired of answering the same questions over and over.

    I encourage you to research and question yourself honestly. How can you expect to represent Jesus by posting once and then disappearing?

  • benjdm

    I just stumbled on your site for the first time and I’d like to know who you consider Jesus to be.

    A first century apocalyptic cult leader.

    I encourage you to research and answer the question honestly

    I return the sentiment.

  • Siamang

    That was a bit more brief.

    I’ve got to learn to waste less time answering these ring-and-run posters.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Siamang,

    I’ve got to learn to waste less time answering these ring-and-run posters.

    I don’t think your words are ever “wasted,” as there are others who appreciate your thoughts.

  • cassiopeia

    in response to Tim:
    what does ‘knowing’ who or what Jesus was have anything to do with understanding science?

    it seems to me that Tim is implying that we scientists and our arguments are somehow linked to who Jesus was. i don’t see how there is a relevant connection at all. there are many highly religious people who are also among the most brilliant scientific minds. in fact, many of the early ground breakers (ie. newton, galileo, etc) were devout in their religious beliefs

    BUT, unlike many scientists who know this, those arguing on the religious sides of things, do not know this information. once again, their arguments are uninformed and incomplete.

    (Real Name hidden)
    M.Sc, Ph.D Candidate
    Astronomy & Astrophysics
    (following Donald’s example)

  • Luis

    Dr. MacGowan,

    Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap.

  • Tim

    In response to Siamang, I have returned, although I don’t intend on spending hours visiting this site. However, that does not make my question any less relevant.

    In response to cassiopeia, I am not attempting to separate science from Jesus, although I understand why you would conclude that (sorry I was not more concise). What I am trying to do is challenge you to consider Christ’s claims (and the Bible as a whole, as it is the account of Christ’s life) to be God’s Son, who was, who is and who is to come. Why is this not only relevant but critical? Because science and God as revealed in the Bible are not mutually exclusive. If Jesus’ claims are accepted to be true then any scientific explanation should not contradict those claims. If they do, then I would encourage you to ask yourself who you trust more.

  • HidariMak

    Tim said…
    …Because science and God as revealed in the Bible are not mutually exclusive. If Jesus’ claims are accepted to be true then any scientific explanation should not contradict those claims. If they do, then I would encourage you to ask yourself who you trust more.

    Tim, I say this with no harsh intentions whatsoever, but you are obviously naïve as to how big of an if that is. Why consider Jesus’ quoted words to be accurate, when they contradict science on the simplest of matters, as well as other well respected and established religions, as well as Jesus’ quoted words from other parts of the bible?

    Or how about the bible as a whole? None of Matthew, Mark, Luke, nor John ever met Jesus, which is why their version of events differs so greatly. Matthew and Luke have Jesus getting to Nazareth through different routes, at different times, for different reasons, and give Joseph different lineages with a different number of decendents from King David, with few to none of those descendants matching up.

    The first chapter in Genesis gives one account as to how life started on earth, while the second chapter of Genesis gives another. Deciding which one is “more holy” is a human decision, and rejecting at least one of them as false is mandatory to giving any credence to the other.

    There was no mention of how “the Virgin Mary” passed on until 600 years after the death of Christ (although the bible does note Jesus’ shunning of her, as he instructed all his followers to do with their own families). And 600 years after the fact, the first one to write of her passing says she was taken up to heaven while still alive. 1,350 years after that, the pope says it’s to be considered an accurate portrayal of her passing from this life to the next.

    Also, those words which you claim are irrefutable are based on thousands of rewritings, as well as translations between dozens of languages, where the meaning can be changed drastically by a single minor error in syntax.

    Tim, I’m an atheist, and what I’ve typed is just off the top of my head after a long day. And I still seem to know more about your religion than you do. Why don’t you do a bit a research yourself, before coming back to “teach” the rest of us?

  • d00d

    On one hand you have the Bible. On the other hand you have all these facts. It can be tough to decide. (paraphrasing David Cross)

  • Siamang

    In response to Siamang, I have returned, although I don’t intend on spending hours visiting this site. However, that does not make my question any less relevant.

    Seeing if you are interested in understanding who I am, what my worth is as a human being, what my thought processes are and what road I have walked to bring me to this place in my life is far more relevant than an immediate or flip answer.

    An off-the-top-of-the-head answer will bring you no understanding of those things, which are far, far more relevant to who I am, and where we meet on your journey and mine, than to answer your question in a flip way. You need to know who I am before you can know what my answer means.

    If you want a worthwhile answer, you must ask more worthwhile questions. My question is valid.. will you be here to read my responses? Will you be around long enough to think about what I write? Do you consider me an individual worthy of respect, and worth enough of your time to learn a bit about me before you ask your “gotcha” question?

    Here we sit in this virtual olive grove, discussing these very important questions. Do you come to sit with us, or do you hurry by, full of yourself and hoping to score an easy knock at those who ponder these questions from a different point-of-view?

    Begin by telling us about yourself, Tim. Who are you? What brings you here? What is your life like outside of church?

  • Tim

    So HidariMak, that is who you think Jesus is (in 6 paragraphs you’ve disproved the Bible…sure) . Thanks for sharing, that is all I asked in the first place.

    And Siamang, you’ve concluded you know who I am twice now, and twice I’ve returned. You asked who I am. Well, I am married to a loving wife and we have been blessed with a 16 month old daughter and a 6 week old son. I am a Web developer for a technical college for 40 hours a week. In addition, I am working with a couple individuals on a startup business. Sunday mornings we go to church (but you already know that). I love the Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers.

    That’s me on the surface. Inside, I’m constantly tempted to obey my flesh while fighting to obey the Holy Spirit. That battle began when I was 19. Before that, I was indifferent to Jesus and figured He’s okay, but not necessary for living. I found satisfaction in music, running, girlfriend, and playing cards. And it was satisfying, in all sincerity.

    At age 19, a friend asked me the same question I posed here – who did I think Christ was and why did He die on the cross? Christ used that to call me out and I began to see differently. My desires changed, my interests changed, my friendships changed…to the point where my family questioned my decisions. Since then I’ve discovered that Psalm 16:11 is true: “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.“. Those pleasures are ever increasing and make what previously satisfied look like the inside of my kids’ diaper genie. Is it easy…absolutely not. As I said, I battle the temptation to satisfy my flesh constantly. Thankfully the Holy Spirit works in me to keep me from sin and keep me pursuing God’s “right hand”.

    And that is what brings me here. I desire to get you to think about who Jesus is. I was challenged to do the same and although I didn’t consider myself an atheist, I didn’t know or love God either. Maybe you will consider us too different to bother listening – that’s up to you.

    That’s me in summary. And I’m listening if you care to share your story. Maybe you’ll continue to write me off as “full of myself” and “hoping to score an easy knock” but I hope not. Where do you find your worth? Why have you concluded there is no God? And of course, who do you consider Jesus to be?

  • Siamang

    Tim!

    That is wonderful! You must forgive me for doubting you, as there have been countless people who drop in with one simple (and confrontational) question, then leave without seeming to consider that there are human beings here who gather on this site. We’ve been posting here for over a year (and on the former site, which is run by a Christian ministry, for longer). While there are a number of wonderful Christians who blog here and comment regularly, and who have enhanced this conversation by their presence and insight, unfortunately we have a constant “sniper problem”… folks we call “ring and run” posters. Those people unfortunately are very hard to learn from, and they often interrupt conversations or side track them into arguments.

    I am really glad you posted what you did. What a better way to begin a conversation, don’t you agree? Let us agree to take that post as the beginning, shall we?

    I’m pleased that you have a young family! What a wonderful time for you. I likewise have a family, and my daughter is a hair shy of five years old. She’ll be starting kindergarten in the fall, and she’s very ready for school. She’s reading more and more every day, constantly surprising us with her ability to read more and more words by sight. She is full-time energy, and a lot of hard work to keep up with!

    I work as an computer animator at one of the top producers of family entertainment in the world. My work allows me the ability to channel my creativity in a field that is very satisfying artistically. It also allows me to create work that is satisfying to me as a father, creating films that my family can enjoy together. My interests in addition to my work and family are world travel, astronomy, history, art, theatre, biology and education, as well as civil rights and world health, hunger and housing issues. I have a fondness for watching baseball, but all other sports leave me cold. I’d much rather read a history book or a science book than any work of fiction. Even though I’m a fanatic for Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, I have little patience for any other fantasy. I would rather go to an art museum or a science museum than a mall or the beach. I’d rather visit the Galapagos than get a suntan at a Sandals resort. I’m more at home in Cambridge or Oxford than I would be in Las Vegas or New Orleans. Megageek: when visiting London last year, I made a special trip to Greenwich to see Harrison’s clocks… and yes, I cried.

    What is my spiritual life like? Well, I grew up in a family that believed in everything under the sun. I believed in God, and Jesus and the Bible, as well as ghosts, UFO’s, Bigfoot… you know, this list never stops. My parents are a bit on the uncritical side, and I got a lot of that. I got a lot of belief by mere exposure. I felt that the world was a busy place full of unseen forces. My worldview was a jumble of supernatural phenomena that my parents told me with absolute conviction was all solid-fact-true. About 20 years ago I asked myself the question: how do you know any of this is true? This was after years of seeking this stuff out, and being frustrated. Nobody ever had any proof of this stuff, and everyone who swore up and down that this stuff was real, I always found to be kind of loopy and out of it. Either they were on drugs or they seriously NEEDED to be on some medication! But the more and more I pursued, lets say ghosts, the more I realized that the people who saw them were pretty darn suggestible people. Same with UFO’s, psychics, etc. And I never, to this day, have met anyone who could SHOW ME any evidence for any of it.

    Around this time, my grandmother died. I lived with her at the time, and I was there as she passed. Afterwards, a minister who held her service talked and talked about how he knew what happened to her in the moment of death. And I knew, right then and there, that he didn’t have the foggiest idea what happened to her… it was just his job to say that he did.

    And so I started, at that moment, to see “holy people” as people with no more information about the great beyond than any of us. And I started to question my own beliefs quite rigorously. I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to be truly honest with myself is to admit that “I don’t know”, and that I need to be really really honest when I say I don’t think anyone else knows either. If they do know, they have not done a sufficient job demonstrating to me that I should believe. Because at this point, I’m going to ask for evidence before I sign on with another pantheon of supernatural entities vying for my allegiance.

    Where do you find your worth?

    I find it in my love for my family, in raising my daughter and in expressing my creativity in my chosen field. I also consider humility a spiritual value. I desire to be humble in my assertions about things I cannot know. I think there is a value there.

    Why have you concluded there is no God?

    To ask the question “is there a God?” one must define the word God. As Einstein said “tell me what you mean by ‘God’, and I’ll tell you if I believe in him.” It’s a question rendered nonsensical before it is even asked, because people often mean many contradictory things when they describe it. Let us define God as simply as possible as “a creative intelligence that ordered the universe”. Given that, well who says I disbelieve it!?! I don’t have and I don’t think I’ll ever have the information to know if such a thing ever existed or indeed still exists. So what do I do? I call myself an atheist. To clarify, when I call myself an atheist, I am specifically saying I am someone who doesn’t worship any idea of a god.

    If you ask “did a creator order the universe?” All I can answer is “I dunno. Maybe.” But worshiping such a thing might be like ants in an ant farm worshipping Uncle Milton… the maker of their plastic-encased world.

    And of course, who do you consider Jesus to be?

    A human being now deceased, upon whose life and death, legends grew.

  • HidariMak

    Tim said…
    So HidariMak, that is who you think Jesus is (in 6 paragraphs you’ve disproved the Bible…sure)

    Huh? When did I claim to “disprove” the bible, or to attempt to do so?

    Read what you yourself had written and asked for. You jumped into a discussion of how Expelled dishonestly slanders science to promote non-science as science, by asking that we consider the worth of Jesus instead of looking at Ben Stein’s faults in the so-called debate.

    You followed up by asking why anyone would consider science before the supposed word of Jesus. I followed up with clear, obvious examples of how and where the word of Jesus, and the bible itself, is wrong. Since you asked why I would believe one over the other, I showed you why I would believe one over the other.

    “In 6 paragraphs you’ve disproved the Bible…sure” as a response shows closed mindedness. Are you really looking for honest opinions, or just ones which conform to your own?

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    Nice to meet you Tim, thanks for the comments.

    I desire to get you to think about who Jesus is. I was challenged to do the same and although I didn’t consider myself an atheist, I didn’t know or love God either.

    Growing up I was a full fledged Christian. I was raised in the church and “knew” the love of God and Jesus for almost 20 years. When things in the Bible and what I was taught in church didn’t fit with what I saw in the world around me, I figured “God works in mysterious ways”.

    As these inconsistencies bothered me more and more I turned to my religion, I read the Bible and I prayed. The more I looked into Christianity the less it looked like “The Truth” and the more it looked like myths put together by ignorant men to explain why they were on Earth, why they suffered, and what happened after they died. Looking at the history of social systems only increased my doubt. The contradictions and lies were too many to be inspired by a god and I finally let myself not believe.

    I bring this up because many on this site have thought about Jesus/God/religion and have decided there is nothing there worth following. You seem to think the commenters on this site have never heard of or thought about Jesus. For many of us that couldn’t be further from the truth.

    Where do you find your worth?

    In my wife and daughter. In my friends, family, and pets. In being a good person and helping others. In trying to leave this world a better place. I would contend that our “worth” is very similar, especially as we both have young children. I bet that on a daily basis our actions differ only on insignificant details. If you need Jesus to be the center of your worth, I have not problem with that and wish you well. But I have found my “meaning” outside of organized religion.

  • Tim

    Siamang and HappyNat – thank you for sharing about your lives. I agree that this is a better start to a conversation and I’m sorry if I came across as just another “fly-by” Christian. I can understand why you would conclude I was no different.

    I apologize also for implying that regular visitors of Friendly Atheist have not considered who Jesus is. I never thought that, although it was implied. I think it’s safe to say that that is true of some visitors of this site but I’m sure the majority have considered Christ and His claims. Part of why I asked the question in the first place is because I know there are “fly-by” Christians out there and I know they are not representing Christ well. My hope is to have you re-consider Christ’s claims without the “fly-by’s” misrepresentations in mind.

    I also apologize for assuming you believe there is no God. I guess I was going off the title of this site. Siamang, with all due respect, is atheist the correct term for your belief system? Google would define it as “someone who denies the existence of god”. That doesn’t seem to fit who you described yourself to be. Seems you are more agnostic than atheist. Just curious.

    Siamang, you rightly asked for clarification regarding who God is. In today’s pluralistic society, we are encouraged to accept one truth…and that is that there is not one truth. I would agree that there is one truth, however, I would not agree that that one truth is that there is not one truth (mouth full). I believe Christ when He said:

    I am the way, the truth, and the life.

    I believe it and I testify to it as true. So who is God? I accept Christ’s claim to be God’s Son:

    I and the Father are one. John 10:30

    I realize that asking that question to 100 people will likely get 100 different answers but my answer is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The God who sent His only Son Jesus to die and rise and who indwells believers with the Holy Spirit.

    Siamang and HappyNat – it sounds like you’ve both concluded that the Bible is unreliable. That there are unexplainable contradictions. I’m not sure how to approach that other than to encourage you to identify a specific contradiction and go searching for possible explanations. The first contradiction you might raise might be “How can a good God let…happen?” I would not discount the question nor would I try to provide an answer. It’s an important and difficult question. All I would say (if you were to ask) is that I don’t know. I do know however, that He provides me with hope in light of those difficulties, that sinful men are capable of all kinds of evil and that it’s a miracle that more of those difficulties don’t happen.

    Finally, I would offer one observation. HappyNat, you said:

    I would contend that our “worth” is very similar, especially as we both have young children.

    The question to ask in light of that is what if I didn’t have children. Do I have lesser purpose? You might say…of course not. You have other family and friends and pets. I would contend that the “especially” implies a greater sense of purpose. And if there is a greater sense of purpose with children, what about before I had children? What about the childless couple or the single man or woman? What if I’m alone? Do I have lesser worth?

    I’ll close with that. Thanks for the discussion and it’s a pleasure to meet you. Talk to you soon.

  • Siamang

    I also apologize for assuming you believe there is no God. I guess I was going off the title of this site. Siamang, with all due respect, is atheist the correct term for your belief system? Google would define it as “someone who denies the existence of god”. That doesn’t seem to fit who you described yourself to be. Seems you are more agnostic than atheist. Just curious.

    You’ll note that words often have multiple definitions. That same link brings us:

    Atheism entails the absence of belief in the existence of God or other deities.

    Absence of belief.

    “Atheists are people who do not believe in a god or gods (or other immaterial beings), or who believe that these concepts are not meaningful.

    “Agnosticism” is a word that deals with the question of what is known or unknown. Whereas “atheism” deals with the question of what is believed or not believed, or worshipped or not worshipped. Technically speaking, I’m an agnostic atheist… one who worships zero gods because I am unconvinced of their existence. I know people who are agnostic theists, people who don’t know for sure if a God exists, but decide to go the other way on the worship issue. When it comes right down to it, it may only be the extremists on both sides who are absolutely 100% non-agnostic on the question of God. Not very many of those here. To have an open mind might mean being open to the possibility of non-existence, might it not?

    Siamang and HappyNat – it sounds like you’ve both concluded that the Bible is unreliable.

    Not exactly. I have not concluded it is UNreliable. I have simply not been convinced of its reliability in the first place. Those might seem to you like they are the same statement, but the difference is key for me.

    The burden of proof of an extraordinary claim is on the claimant. So if I’m walking down the street and a person hands me a book and says “this book expresses the thoughts and desires of the creator of the universe”, I have to ask for evidence. Because that person might be a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Scientologist, a Mormon, a Zoroastrian, a Hare Krishna, etc…

    So for me, I haven’t even gotten to the point where I have considered the Bible to be UNreliable. I’m still at step one: what evidence do we have that this book is the absolute one, end-all-and-be-all books, the complete and utter guide to the infinite? By what criteria can I decide how to know which religious traditions’ holy book is right, and which are wrong?

    For example, if God didn’t like what was in the bible, how would we know?

    I often ask the question, by which method can I tell a true theological idea from a false one, such that anyone, from any background or tradition can follow this method and come to the same conclusion?

    For example:
    If I read a map wrong, I wind up in Des Moines instead of Chicago.
    If I do my taxes wrong, the IRS knocks on my door.
    If I take the wrong medicine, I wind up sick or dead.
    If I cook meat improperly, I get sick.
    If I drive my car improperly, I crash or get arrested.

    What happens if I pick the wrong religion? I die and God tells me “sorry, it’s the Scientologists who were right. Sorry, bad guess dude, it’s ScientologyHell for you.”

    When I look at believers, I can’t figure out WHY they believe the stuff they believe. It seems to me that they always think what they believe is amazing, awesome, important… okay… but also the ONLY WAY, and GET RIGHT or BE DAMNED, and God told me He doesn’t like what you’re doing with your penis, now cut off the tip and come with me to temple.

    You said that you believe that sinful men are capable of all kinds of evil. Are they also capable of being honestly mistaken about what God commands? If they were mistaken, how would they know, or would most even think to ask that question?

    And I can’t figure out, one, why they’re so all-fired sure of themselves, and two, how they would possibly know if they were wrong about all this stuff they claim they know. I mean, I call faith the magic 8 ball with only one answer: “You’re RIGHT, God agrees with you, KEEP BELIEVING!”

    So I’d ask you, really, by what method can I tell a true theological idea from a false one, such that anyone, from any background or tradition can follow this method and come to the same conclusion?

    In my ignorance of a way to cull true supernatural beliefs from false ones, I prefer making no supernatural claims at all. I’d like to think it’s humility that keeps me from claiming that this book or that, or this preacher or that speaks for the Creator of the Universe. But truth be told, it’s just plain befuddlement. I can’t, and have no desire to put my opinions above anything other than “this is an opinion of one human being.” I don’t claim to speak for God, or Zeus or Thor when speaking my opinion. (I have noticed that God always seems to agree with the politics and social views of whoever’s preaching.)

    But also, I found that there’s a crispness to the world once I shed my supernatural beliefs. It was like I was breathing uncluttered air. My life simplified. My fears and superstitions subsided. There is a simplicity, a humility and an austerity to this view of the world. I live an unadorned spiritual existence. There is an ascetic quality to my life, vacated by ghosts and angels and demons, and kings and slaveholders… and the mythology invented by superstitious folk of civilizations and peoples long passed into memory.

    Gone are the nightmares of an invisible world. Here and now, I live. Not forever, but at least not in the past, and not in the imagination.

    My heart beats. My mind explores. My family is fortified with my love. And that is so much more than enough for a small organism on a forgotten speck of dust on an insignificant and temporary bubble of spacetime.

    Enjoy your journey, Tim, as I enjoy mine. Do not forget for a moment that you are made of starstuff.

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    Tim,

    Siamang did an excellent job explaining the way I feel about the Bible, so I’ll just add a bit. Growing up I was told the Bible had all the answers and it was inspired by God. I would read sections and find comfort. No doubt there is some good stuff in there. But when I began to have doubts and read the whole Bible for myself not just lovey dovey, beautiful poetic sections I realized it didn’t answer anything for me. It didn’t seem like God had a plan, in most of OT he comes across as an alcoholic father, then he changes the plan completely in the NT, maybe he joined AA. :)

    The question to ask in light of that is what if I didn’t have children. Do I have lesser purpose? You might say…of course not. You have other family and friends and pets. I would contend that the “especially” implies a greater sense of purpose. And if there is a greater sense of purpose with children, what about before I had children? What about the childless couple or the single man or woman? What if I’m alone? Do I have lesser worth?

    I don’t like assigning lesser or more to idea of worth/purpose. I brought up the commonality between us having young children because a large amount of my time is spent caring/teaching/cleaning/loving in regards to my daughter. I’m sure your time is spent the same way. Right now, the main focus of my life is my family, this is no better or worse than when the main focus of my life was school or work or travel, just a different focus/purpose. As she grows and becomes more independent I will find other things of worth to focus on.

    I try not to find fault with what people spend their time and energy doing. I may think it is odd to bow and pray to Mecca 5 times a day, but if this helps keep people focused and grounded more power to them. Well, as long as they don’t interrupt my Power Point to do it. :) I believe that prayer can help the individual praying to relax/focus/whatever, I have just not seen any proof it affects anything outside of the persons mind. Each person need to decide their own purpose/worth in life and as long as it doesn’t impede others on their travel through life I try not to judge. In essence I think the meaning of life is to live it.

  • http://howgoodisthat.wordpress.com Jim Gardner

    I started watching the Stein interview with the intention of screen ripping it and posting it to a more accessible site, but I got about 5 minutes in and had to walk away, so as not to inflict some serious damage on my iMac.

    This guy is deliberately pushing buttons by blatantly lying to attract publicity. I have no idea why, but that’s exactly what’s happening here.

    Would you be interested in teaming up with me and others to write a joint statement, with a view to it being read by anyone who has been mislead by this person? I want to do something about this more than anything I’ve felt motivated by in a long time – enough is enough.

    Thanks so much for posting this. Jim

  • Pingback: Is Ben Stein dangerously brainwashed or just drawn that way? « How good is that?

  • Kevin G.

    Anybody who knows about Occam’s razor understands that Evolution doesn’t violate it, whereas creationism does. It’s not that science thinks that Darwinism is 100 percent correct (nor that it can explain everything), but it’s the best, most scientifically sound explanation we have for (lots of) things.

    It’s almost like the creationists just don’t understand this. If suddenly in some incredibly strange set of circumstances there arose sound, scientific evidence that Creationism was more accurate, then Science would accept that theory as better.

    a) That’s never going to happen.
    b) I thought Ben Stein would be smart enough to understand this.

    Disappointing moves on his part.

  • Spamagnet

    This whole debate makes me ill. Very few people (on either side – if there are indeed sides) seem to be able to make a coherent argument that doesn’t involve syllogisms, logical fallacies, or faulty assumptions.

    1. Darwinism/Evolution does not address abiogenesis (the origin of life from non-life) at all.

    2. Intelligent Design (as I understand it) only addresses abiogenesis.

    As far as I can tell, there is not necessarily a conflict. The conflicts seem to come in with all the baggage that people attach. Or am I missing something?

  • Spamagnet

    Hmmm … I’m going to answer my own comment. I’ve been reading up a bit more on ID, and clearly it attempts to explain more than abiogenesis. And certainly the organization(s)/movement(s) springing up around ID are heavily anti-Darwinism/Evolution. Though really, as far as I can tell, at its core, it is compatible with it. *Sigh* Can’t we all just get along? Or at least discuss things rationally? (Answer: No.)

  • Siamang

    Tim, you don’t seem to have returned. If you’re still around, I’m still curious if you wanted a dialog here, or if you just wanted to make your point and split.

    HappyNat and I both took the time to compose thoughtful follow-ups. Is that time wasted?

    Spamagnet,

    I see you answered your own question, ID proponents DO attempt to explain more than merely abiogenesis.

    But it isn’t their attempt to explain things that matters. The ID people can build websites and write books and sit back in their armchairs and attempt to use ID to explain any and all aspects of the universe, both real and imaginary, to their hearts content.

    The main problem is that these people want these ideas taught in the public schools, when they haven’t done even one experiment to attempt to prove any of it.

    But let’s even grant your first premise. Even IF ID was only a hypothesis of abiogenesis and didn’t conflict with neodarwinian evolution, would that be sufficient for the inclusion of ID in public school classes? No. Why? Because the ID hypothesis would still have to be tested by experiment and proven to be a useful predictive mechanism that has never been proven false.

    Also, there are some very, very good scientists at Harvard and all over the world working hard on the questions of abiogenesis. Do we tell them “give up. Go home. Stop searching for answers, because “god did it’ is being taught now!”

    Science is hard work. Alternative explanations don’t get to be included in the science curriculum merely because they don’t conflict with established theories. A positive case has got to be made for the idea in question first.

    Though really, as far as I can tell, at its core, it is compatible with it.

    So now I have to ask you, what is the “core” of intelligent design? In what experiment was this core revealed?

    I think it might help to clarify the terms of this discussion. By the phrase “Intelligent Design,” I mean the hypotheses put forward by the Discovery Institute and the biochemist Michael Behe and the mathematician William A. Dembski. These hypotheses state that natural selection and the accompanying selective processes are insufficient to describe the complexity we see in life around us… Okay, lots of scientists would agree with that part, perhaps there is something that natural selection and sexual selection and some other processes haven’t accounted for… let’s go on:

    Further they ALSO posit that NO NATURAL CAUSE, known or unknown, can possibly explain the diversity of life on earth.

    FURTHER FURTHER, they ALSO posit that they have discovered a method for detecting the work of an unknown supernatural creative entity.

    Further, further, further, they ALSO posit that using this method, they have indeed detected the actual work of this unknown entity!!!!

    Now when we’re talking about ID, I am specifically talking about the disproven, unproven and fuzzily explained or unexplained claims of Doctors Behe and Dembski. These are people who make specific, testable and disproven claims, who do not correct their work when they are disproven, and who nevertheless insert themselves into battles over textbooks in our public school systems in an attempt to circumvent normal scientific peer review.

    We don’t let every PhD with a hair-brained idea teach their unproven lead-into-gold scams in the public schools. This debate, if it is a scientific debate, needs to occur in the scientific laboratory, with ID proponents doing some experiments. Science is not written at the local school board level, nor is it debated without experiment by junior high schoolers.

    Now if you have the idea that there could indeed be a God, and this God could have set up evolution…. well THAT’S not intelligent design. That’s called “theistic evolution”, and it’s a philosophical or theological idea that a good number of anti-Intelligent Design scientists hold, including the great Ken Miller. Please do not call theistic evolution “Intelligent Design,” because the term ID sweeps in specific, testable and falsified hypotheses, and is a religio-political movement.

    Theistic evolution does not make testable scientific claims. It is a theological position, not a scientific position.

    Intelligent design is “theistic evolution PLUS”. It’s “TE” PLUS the claim that no natural causes, discovered or undiscovered, could possibly explain the diversity of life. PLUS the claim that they have discovered a method for detecting the work of a supernatural designer. PLUS the claim that using this method, they have discovered the work of such a designer.

    They claim to have found proof of God or a god-like entity. And they want this taught as fact in the public school system, despite the fact that they haven’t done even one experiment.

    Or at least discuss things rationally?

    I’m always willing to discuss things rationally. Especially science, which I love. Have you seen the movie “Expelled” that we are talking about? I have. It’s quite histrionic. I know a fair bit about the Intelligent Design movement and its history. I encourage you to read as much as you can about these people. Also, read the excellent article on Expelled on wikipedia. Also read the Judge’s decision in Kitzmiller vs. the Dover Area School Board. If ever you wanted a rational discussion on Intelligent Design, there was it… right in a court of law, where evidence had to be presented for both sides of the case.

    The more you read about intelligent design, the worse it looks.

  • http://howgoodisthat.wordpress.com Jim Gardner

    Siamang: Your reply to this thread was the first I’ve received a notice e-mail for, otherwise I was looking forward to watching this one develop too.

    I’ll go back and skim, but an executive summary wouldn’t go amiss – if anyone wants to step up?

  • Siamang

    The relevant part of the Tim-Siamang-HappyNat and HidariMak discussion started up-thread here.

    It was mostly us trying to convince a post-and-go christian to engage in a dialog. Once he convinced us that he indeed would stick around for a post or two, it seems like he vacated without reading our contribution. Another monologuing Christian, it seems.

  • http://howgoodisthat.wordpress.com Jim Gardner

    That’s a shame – thanks anyway.

  • mo

    Only those of little faith are frightened by Science.
    I am a strong believer in one God but that also that he gave us free will and intellegance to learn about the wonderful world he created.
    Now I do believe he started the ball rolling with the first little spark since somehow there had to be a beginning ….
    But from there on in he left the rest to evolution but that was as he wanted it….
    It HAS BEEN PROOVED for the information of people like Ben Stein…in many ways…
    I wondered as a young woman about this issue and then I saw “Inherit the Wind”…that movie made more sense than any argument that any preacher or scientist could make…..it was simple to me…
    If God created the earth in seven days and there are 24 hours in a day and we measure a day by the sun but the sun has not been created yet on that first day according to the biblical accounting….then How long was that first day??? It was and impossible question to answer….it could have been 24 hours….or it coulds have been millions of years…there was no way to no….
    The amount of evolution that could have occured during that time is beyond our comprehension….
    To try to have the two mutually exclusive ,Science and God is ridiculous…..so much of the great discoverys in the realm of science were done by believers who were then persecuted as is happening again….
    What is more fascinating ,miraculous even,,,
    1.man springing up over night fully formed out of no where (which we are SURE he did not do) how else would you explain Homo ergaster and Homo erectus
    3.4 Homo cepranensis and Homo antecessor Homo neanderthalensis ..to name a few…
    but then these people do not believe that these were our ancestors…the proof our scientists bring back means nothing to them…WHY? To me the answer is simple…Fear….they really are not true men and woman of faith…when science interfers with something they hold fast it shakes their belief so they must destory the evidence of it…..make fun of it….
    Rather than seeing it for what it is….part of our evolution…Gods continuing to reveal to us how man and our solar system were formed….
    We are star dust….this is comforting to me….
    The thought that I and the whole human race evolved over time but probably started with star dust….(but in my opinion still guided by the hand of God),,,is beautiful…

  • Spamagnet

    @Siamang: Some good points there. I was under a false impression that ID was basically the same as “theistic evolution.” My own view is closest to BioLogos, the view held by Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project. For him (and me), believing that God created the universe does not mean you stop looking for answers — it is just the starting point.

    I have not seen Expelled yet. But from the summaries and reviews, it appears to be fatally flawed in its logic. Science leads to murder? No more than designing a car leads to road rage. The film apparently claims that since the Nazis were inspired by Darwinism, therefore Darwinism is responsible for the Holocaust; which is simply a preposterous argument. You might as well hold Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet responsible for teen suicide. Or blame the Bible for every idiot who finds out-of-context justification for his views. (“You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. –Anne Lamott”)

  • Siamang

    Spamagnet,

    Yes. I hadn’t heard the term biologos, but according to that wikipedia link, it’s Collins’ coinage to describe his view of theistic evolution.

    Actually, Collins’ term is probably more accurate for what he’s describing, because according to that link, he’s also talking about the entire creation process, from the beginning of the universe, not just evolution. But being a biologist, he calls it BIOlogos I notice!

    If you like Collins, I recommend also that above-linked youtube video of Ken Miller talking about intelligent design. He also has a book covering similar subject matter to Collins, called “Finding Darwin’s God”.

    I have not seen Expelled yet. But from the summaries and reviews, it appears to be fatally flawed in its logic.

    It suffers from (or uses to its own advantage) a flaw of the new rapid-fire style of propaganda documentary filmmaking: You can rush right though soundbites hurry-scurry and create an impression of terrible wrongdoing against these poor innocent Intelligent Design proponents. The allegations come fast and furious, and in a movie theater you cannot check wikipedia for their accuracy. By the time you hear something and think “now wait just a minute… that doesn’t sound true”, all of a sudden five more things are shown and you’ve forgotten about that first thing… and the allegations just wash over you and you’re left with the impression that something is indeed terribly wrong, just as Ben Stein says!

    The part near the end of the film where they visit a Nazi concentration camp is shameless. It trivializes the holocaust and simplifies it down to one rationale. A rationale that even if it were true, simply has no bearing on the natural historical record.

    Either life evolved on this planet from a common ancestral genepool, or it did not. The history of the natural world is what it is.
    Even if Hitler had quoted the entire text of On the Origin of Species in Mien Kampf, it would not change the facts of the history of biological life on earth.

    Hitler was also into astrology. Does that mean we must not teach children of the existence of stars and planets?

  • cipher

    Hitler was also into astrology. Does that mean we must not teach children of the existence of stars and planets?

    Siamang, you know the answer to that. The fundies would say that astrology isn’t astronomy, that it’s an occult practice, and this proves that dabbling in the occult leads to genocide.

  • http://howgoodisthat.wordpress.com Jim Gardner

    You guys might have already seen this and will certainly enjoy if you haven’t. It might also be a good place to point the occasional fundie – especially the part where he uses his expert skills of suggestion to convert a room full of atheists into God believing, hypnotised drones. Very impressive. They were all reawakened after the cameras were turned off, by the way…

    http://howgoodisthat.wordpress.com/2008/05/13/the-master-at-work-derren-brown-converts-a-room-full-of-atheists-to-believing-in-god/

  • Spamagnet

    But being a biologist, he calls it BIOlogos I notice!

    That’s true — “bios” being the Greek work for “life.” You could also call it “CosmosLogos,” where “cosmos” is Greek for “order.”

    Hitler was also into astrology. Does that mean we must not teach children of the existence of stars and planets?

    A better question might be: The Nazis were very good at technology. Does that mean technology leads to genocide? Of course not — technology is just a tool. How we choose to use a tool is right/wrong/good/evil, not the tool itself. (Except maybe television. Pure evil.) (That’s a joke.)

  • Spamagnet

    @Siamang: Thanks for the reference to Kenneth Miller; I had heard of him, but had not learned much about him until now. I will try to find a copy of Finding Darwin’s God and read it.

  • Osama bin Laden

    I disagree, sometimes religion (not science) leads people to kill. But only when God wants us to.

    oh BTW, the technology used to create the film and transmit this interview, was created by science not god. Wanna know how I know? god is imaginary.

  • Will

    This makes me sick. Stein needs to get his facts straight. “Darwinism” which he is referring to is social Darwinism, an idea gone awry by a man by the name of Sir Frances Galton, the father of Eugenics, and a sociologist named Herbert Spencer. These men’s ideals were the ones who inspired Hitler NOT Darwin. Keep in mind that neither of these men intended their theories to be used as an excuse to murder 6 million innocent men, women, and children. Spencer did not even intend for his to be put into action, but only to be used as an analogy of sorts.

    Furthermore, the “scientists” that sent millions to the gas chambers were men that were brainwashed by the Nazi regime or threatened with the same fate if they failed to comply. I myself am a devout Catholic, but one must look at the facts, and not blindly make such fierce accusations without any further knowledge, as Stein has done. He gives all Christians, and intelligent human beings, a bad name.