Ben Stein misses his own point

posted at 5:35 pm on April 30, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

John Derbyshire finds a rather disturbing comment from Ben Stein in an interview he did with TBN earlier this month, promoting his new film Expelled: The Movie. In explaining his reaction to researching the Holocaust by visiting Dachau and Hadamar, Stein railed against the distortions of Darwinian theory that led to the systematic eugenics murders and genocide of the Nazi regime. However, Stein misses the target by a mile when he says this at about the 28-minute mark:

Stein: When we just saw that man, I think it was Mr. Myers [i.e. biologist P.Z. 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 … 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.

I found a lot to recommend about Expelled, but this leaves me wondering if Ben Stein missed the point of his movie. Science does not lead to Dachau; ideology perverting science led to Dachau. The Holocaust occurred when raving anti-Semites and materialists latched onto scientific theory as a philosophy, making it into a rationalization for what they would have done regardless.

How could Stein say this without a hint of irony? The best themes in Expelled take Academia to task for the same destructive sin. Instead of pursuing all paths of scientific pursuit, the academics have imposed their philosophy and their ideology against religion as a means to keep anyone from testing the theories of random, accidental beginnings of life. In a similar manner to what’s seen in the global-warming debate, dissenting voices are excoriated as heretics and idiots, rather than letting the science speak for itself.

Instead of making the proper point that Stein makes in the movie, he now suggests that science itself is evil. That’s absurd. Scientific knowledge has for centuries gone hand in hand with the quest to come closer to God through understanding His creation, as Stein’s own movie argues. The application and expansion of science has led to huge advances in life, health, knowledge, and living standards. Can evil acts come from scientific advances, and can some scientists be evil? Of course — as with any other profession, but the acts come from overt human actions, not from the science.

The pure scientific method ignores ideology in favor of reproducible results, which leads to knowledge — not genocide. Expelled wants Academia to stop applying ideology to science, which is absolutely correct. Stein’s quote above discredits that message and makes the effort sound like an argument against science altogether, and Stein’s broad accusation against scientists is grossly unfair. It sounds like Stein is applying his own ideology instead of supporting the scientific method.


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Ben is saying when you put science in place of God and I agree.

Maxx on April 30, 2008 at 5:42 PM

Maxx, that is my take on it, too.

StephC on April 30, 2008 at 5:43 PM

Ed,
This will get lots of posts. Every person has their own view on this issue, and most won’t have their views changed. It is the ‘can’t prove, prove’ thing. Now way to win for either side.
L

letget on April 30, 2008 at 5:43 PM

The entire movie is crap. Stein is ridiculous in his assumptions and statements. What else is there to expect?

http://www.expelledexposed.com/

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 5:43 PM

Science does not lead to Dachau; ideology perverting science led to Dachau.

Fair point, but are you then saying that ideology cannot dominate science? If it can, then how can you distinguish the two? When you build a scientific theory through the use of an edited scientific method, in order to account for the lack of material evidence, how can you tell the difference between the ideology and the science?

MadisonConservative on April 30, 2008 at 5:44 PM

ideology perverting science led to Dachau.

Saw this on Saturday. Two appendages up!

His point is that Darwinism is not science. Like man-made climate change, these are ideologies to be accepted on faith with no basis in fact. Science as ideology is what the movie is about.

Valiant on April 30, 2008 at 5:45 PM

Science does not lead to Dachau; ideology perverting science led to Dachau.

Most of us scientists would charachterize modern ID theories as exactly that: ideology perverting science.

Big S on April 30, 2008 at 5:45 PM

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 5:43 PM

Everyone: Stop posting that damned site. If you actually understand its arguments, make them yourself.

MadisonConservative on April 30, 2008 at 5:45 PM

Can you really blame Stein? Trying to explain the existence of an all-powerful yet invisible being will obviously lead a person to say stupid things. Belief in God turns normally intelligent people into idiots (and worse) all the time.

Give Stein credit for consistency – if you believe that God is the Creator, any science that refutes that belief is manifestly wicked. Despite what many people would like to believe, science and religion are simply not compatible.

Enrique on April 30, 2008 at 5:45 PM

ideology perverting science led to Dachau.

Not necessarily. Science free of good ideological bounds can easily lead to abominations.

There’s nothing in science that prevents all sorts of morally reprehensible scientific pursuits.

TheBigOldDog on April 30, 2008 at 5:46 PM

@ MadisonConservative on April 30, 2008 at 5:45 PM

Then tell ID supporters to stop arguing against 16th century science. ID supporters act as if Darwin made these claims the other day, and that there has been no advancement in science since his initial observations.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 5:47 PM

Kind of a non-point. Haven’t seen the movie yet, but your own post here gives Stein’s point of the movie as broadening your mind, not closing it. Talking heads sometimes say things poorly, and Stein says so much that’s right on the money that he’s got a long way to fall before it effects his credibility.

samuelrylander on April 30, 2008 at 5:47 PM

Good grief.

It didn’t take long for the conspiracy nut-jobs to show up….

Et tu Brute on April 30, 2008 at 5:49 PM

Then tell ID supporters to stop arguing against 16th century science. ID supporters act as if Darwin made these claims the other day, and that there has been no advancement in science since his initial observations.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 5:47 PM

Like I said, make an argument, not use hyperbole to smear all ID supporters.

MadisonConservative on April 30, 2008 at 5:50 PM

@ MadisonConservative on April 30, 2008 at 5:45 PM

I will argue specific points abou the movie as soon as I see it. I am NOT giving money to Stein or the liars that created this film, I am waiting until its pirated and put up online. I have heard and seen clips of several parts of the movie, and its straight ridiculous.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 5:50 PM

The entire movie is crap. Stein is ridiculous in his assumptions and statements. What else is there to expect?

http://www.expelledexposed.com/

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 5:43 PM

Are you retarded? Or just a bot? Seriously.

Riposte on April 30, 2008 at 5:51 PM

Instead of making the proper point that Stein makes in the movie, he now suggests that science itself is evil.

I think what he meant is that science just for the sake of science ultimately leads to the things we know happened in Germany.

Science itself has no soul and therefore shouldn’t care whether or not its torture to experiment on people.

If our pursuits are for science above all else, then it is logical to “breed” people for specific traits and weed out genes that would pollute the pool.

Esthier on April 30, 2008 at 5:51 PM

It sounds like Stein is applying his own ideology instead of supporting the scientific method.

Yes, and unfortunately his comments will not help support the message Stein attempts to bring to light in the movie (something that is a valid concern) and Stein’s comments make him look no better then the scientists he exposes.

Liberty or Death on April 30, 2008 at 5:51 PM

Ed, what you say about science being the neutral tool of ideology is true (social Darwinism is not science, but a political ideology), but this is just nonsense:

. . . Instead of pursuing all paths of scientific pursuit, the academics have imposed their philosophy and their ideology against religion as a means to keep anyone from testing the theories of random, accidental beginnings of life.

Few hypotheses about the origin of life are at this point testable, since we cannot see or exactly replicate the conditions of the early Earth, and even the pre-Cambrian fossil record does not go back far enough. But no scientist is forbidden from testing any hypothesis, assuming he can come up with one that is falsifiable.

Probably the best known experiment is the one a few decades ago where amino acids (components of proteins) were produced in a simulated ‘primordial soup’, but to my knowledge little has been added since then.

The scientists’ objection to ‘Intelligent Design’ claims is that they are not science, but just introduce a deus ex machina. They are therefore not testable (i.e. falsifiable), and therefore nothing more than speculation at best, or theology at worst. Stein is therefore full of it: theology has no place in science departments.

The comparison you make with the ‘global warming’ orthodoxy is ill-founded. Yes, science is full of orthodoxies (remember how the theory of ‘drifting continents’ was first received), but disputes among scientists about competing testable theories is not the same as denying theology the same status as scientific theory. The former is always a dead end; the latter can, and always will be, overturned, as we learn more and more.

MrLynn on April 30, 2008 at 5:52 PM

@ Riposte on April 30, 2008 at 5:51 PM

Am I retarded? This movie is so ridiculously absurd, that anyone who believes the crap they are spewing, I equate with truthers. The ID theory that they support has been thoroughly debunked, all three main tenets of it.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 5:53 PM

Not necessarily. Science free of good ideological bounds can easily lead to abominations.

There’s nothing in science that prevents all sorts of morally reprehensible scientific pursuits.

TheBigOldDog on April 30, 2008 at 5:46 PM

Exactly. The whole idea of evolution is to replace God with the new god…. science. That is very dangerous and has already led to atrocities, that’s what Ben is saying and I agree with him one-hundred percent.

Maxx on April 30, 2008 at 5:53 PM

Ed:

Great, great, great post.

Professor Blather on April 30, 2008 at 5:53 PM

The entire movie is crap.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 5:43 PM

… as soon as I see it.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 5:50 PM

…never mind. I’m not discussing a movie with someone who has the gall to dismiss it without having seen it.

MadisonConservative on April 30, 2008 at 5:55 PM

The entire movie is crap. Stein is ridiculous in his assumptions and statements. What else is there to expect?

http://www.expelledexposed.com/

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 5:43 PM

Yeah…I followed that link, mostly cause MadisonConservative seemed to get kind of worked up about it. The youtube video there just talks about how they figured out ID is really creationism in disguise. I didn’t click on the other links cause I figured I didn’t need them to tell me water was wet.

Go Ben.

samuelrylander on April 30, 2008 at 5:56 PM

@ Maxx on April 30, 2008 at 5:53 PM

Are you serious? The idea of evolution is to explain how we were created. Its not to replace God. The theory has nothing to do with God. People like you are scary.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 5:56 PM

The ID theory that they support has been thoroughly debunked, all three main tenets of it.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 5:53 PM

Elaborate, please.

samuelrylander on April 30, 2008 at 5:57 PM

The scientists’ objection to ‘Intelligent Design’ claims is that they are not science, but just introduce a deus ex machina. They are therefore not testable (i.e. falsifiable), and therefore nothing more than speculation at best, or theology at worst. Stein is therefore full of it: theology has no place in science departments.

The comparison you make with the ‘global warming’ orthodoxy is ill-founded. Yes, science is full of orthodoxies (remember how the theory of ‘drifting continents’ was first received), but disputes among scientists about competing testable theories is not the same as denying theology the same status as scientific theory. The former is always a dead end; the latter can, and always will be, overturned, as we learn more and more.

MrLynn on April 30, 2008 at 5:52 PM

Thanks. Well said.

Big S on April 30, 2008 at 5:57 PM

The entire movie is crap. Stein is ridiculous in his assumptions and statements. What else is there to expect?

Such an erudite and profound review; I’m sure you put quite a bit of thought into it. Too bad everyone can’t have your way with words.

I visited the site you referenced the night I viewed the film. The purveyors still do not answer the simple questions: “Where did the first cell come from?” and “If life on Earth was ‘seeded’ from another planet, how did life on that planet originate?” Until we can answer these with certainty, any and all theories are still on the table.

Veritas on April 30, 2008 at 5:58 PM

@ MadisonConservative on April 30, 2008 at 5:55 PM

I have heard ALL about the movie from people who support it, especially on this site. If half of what they say the movie says is true, its utterly ridiculous. Also, I have read numerous reviews, and interviews Stein himself had done of the movie. If you believe this crap:

A) You have no clue what evolution really is
B) You have no clue what the scientific method really is

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 5:58 PM

I thought guns killed people!!

SouthernGent on April 30, 2008 at 5:58 PM

Well at the time may people viewed eugenics as perfectly acceptable science. “The science was settled.” Then the ideology manipulated that supposed scientific truth (and used it to excuse its other goals), leading to a host of horrors. So it wasn’t just ideology manipulating science, but bad science feeding ideology. Or a combination of both, in fact.

brak on April 30, 2008 at 5:59 PM

@ Veritas on April 30, 2008 at 5:58 PM

Why must science answer every question you ask now? Your argument from ignorance is no reason to promote ID. Would you prefer science just make up a story like creationism and explain these thing? Sorry, thats not how it works. We cannot explain those things until we discover evidence to support theories.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:00 PM

@ samuelrylander on April 30, 2008 at 5:57 PM

If you want both the pro and con arguments of ID, go to wikipedia. It accurately describes the theory, and the debunking.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:01 PM

fly trap post .

redrock on April 30, 2008 at 6:01 PM

A) You have no clue what evolution really is
B) You have no clue what the scientific method really is

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 5:58 PM

Your own credibility goes on the line when you say stuff like that. Anyone under the age of 45 (probably more than that) has been taught nothing but evolution in public schools. To say they know nothing about it doesn’t make you look smart, or them look dumb. It’s really the opposite.

samuelrylander on April 30, 2008 at 6:01 PM

People like you are scary.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 5:56 PM

Science – specifically psychology – would call this behavior classic projection and transference.

Your utter lack of self-awareness is both ironic and amusing, my friend. Do you think its an evolved trait?

Professor Blather on April 30, 2008 at 6:01 PM

…to keep anyone from testing the theories of random, accidental beginnings of life.

You can’t test those theories unless you can create life. Which no one has done, unless I missed some really big news story.

B26354 on April 30, 2008 at 6:02 PM

@ samuelrylander on April 30, 2008 at 6:01 PM

Care to explain evolution then? EVERY SINGLE TIME someone who supports this movie explains evolution, they are dead wrong. I have never seen a person who supports creationism or ID or whatever you want to call it, explain what evolution is accurately. In fact, they were never even close.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:02 PM

Are you serious? The idea of evolution is to explain how we were created. Its not to replace God. The theory has nothing to do with God. People like you are scary.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 5:56 PM

You scare pretty easy. The only purpose evolution serves is to attempt to explain how we got here without God. Now tell me how is that scary?

Maxx on April 30, 2008 at 6:02 PM

Well at the time may people viewed eugenics as perfectly acceptable science. “The science was settled.”

Eugenics, as you use the term, is a practice built on science (genetics), not science itself.

Big S on April 30, 2008 at 6:03 PM

@ B26354 on April 30, 2008 at 6:02 PM

What do you consider life? The building blocks for life enough?

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:03 PM

Science doesn’t kill people, people kill people.

Aristotle on April 30, 2008 at 6:03 PM

You can’t test those theories unless you can create life. Which no one has done, unless I missed some really big news story.

B26354 on April 30, 2008 at 6:02 PM

Jessica Alba is busy creating life right at this very moment. And obviously some divinity is involved since the child will be at least half goddess.

Professor Blather on April 30, 2008 at 6:03 PM

@ Maxx on April 30, 2008 at 6:02 PM

So you think scientists sat down and tried to think of a way to explain things SPECIFICALLY to exclude god? Or do you think they observed a natural method for species to thrive and new species to emerge, which happened to not rely on the ole “God did it” philosophy?

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:04 PM

As a vehement opponent of Stein’s film and his point, I’m glad to see the Jeremiah Wright in Stein.

thuja on April 30, 2008 at 6:05 PM

Care to explain evolution then?

Considering your obvious defensiveness/hostility, I’m not sure anything anyone said to you would satisfy, but the nutshell goes like this:

life begins(single cell)…random mutations…natural selection…people.

samuelrylander on April 30, 2008 at 6:07 PM

I haven’t seen the movie so I am not going to get into that but I did watch the full interview with Stein that quote came from and was not impressed with his theory as laid out in that forum.

I don’t think science should be taught in theology class so why should theology be taught in science departments?

The bottom line seems to be faith in God requires, um, faith. Faith by definition can neither be proven or disproven. If you can’t do that, you can’t do science.

Why not let each exist happily in their own element?

Drew on April 30, 2008 at 6:07 PM

What do you consider life? The building blocks for life enough?

No.

B26354 on April 30, 2008 at 6:07 PM

So you think scientists sat down and tried to think of a way to explain things SPECIFICALLY to exclude god? Or do you think they observed a natural method for species to thrive and new species to emerge, which happened to not rely on the ole “God did it” philosophy?

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:04 PM

The former, otherwise they would just follow the evidence which is overwhelming. You still didn’t tell me how my statement was scary.

Maxx on April 30, 2008 at 6:09 PM

Francis Crick and others believed life was seeded here by aliens. Is this form of Intelligent Design acceptable to you because it is deity-free.

Valiant on April 30, 2008 at 6:10 PM

I find it hard to believe that the proper context has been applied to Ben Stein’s quote. I can’t imagine him saying what was said in the same context that it has been interpreted. Ben Stein is a social scientist himself. He understands the importance of scientific inquiry. I’d like to see him comment on his comments and how they’re being interpreted.

davenp35 on April 30, 2008 at 6:11 PM

I think Stein is using “science” to mean both ideology perverting science and technocracy based society. After all, if you have a society that eschews religion and puts science in place of spirituality you will have horrible things happen.

With the objective morality religion provides, why not harvest organs from live prisoners to give to more productive members of society? Why not lower the age of consent to reflect physical puberty? The Marxist system of government is based on “science” and in China they harvest prisoners organs and in Eurpope there are political parites lobbying for lower age of consent laws. In Canada Stephen Harper’s government is being castigated for trying to raise the age of consent ther to 16 from 14.

I’m not a Christian and I strongly believe in the stark seperation of church and state, but a religionless society is a souless society. I think that’s what Stein was,perhaps artlessly, was saying in his statement.

Rob Taylor on April 30, 2008 at 6:12 PM

that’s where science leads you

Science does not lead you anywhere. It is a method of gaining knowledge. Denying the truth of the knowledge because it doesn’t match your ideology or perverting the scientific method to get the result you want to justify your ideology are just the 2 different halves of the same lunatic irrational fringe. Evolution skeptics are exactly the same as global warming proponents.

Resolute on April 30, 2008 at 6:12 PM

Nietzsche, 1880: God is dead.
God, 2008: Nietzsche is dead.

jgapinoy on April 30, 2008 at 6:12 PM

@ Maxx on April 30, 2008 at 6:09 PM

Your statement is scary because you seriously think that there is this global conspiracy theory against religion. You think that science is trying to destroy it, instead of just explain the world around us. That is delusional and scary.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:12 PM

I haven’t seen the movie so this question is based on this post alone:

To what does Stein attribute the genocides -and myriad other atrocities for that matter- that came before the theory of evolution?

SouthernDem on April 30, 2008 at 6:12 PM

@ Riposte on April 30, 2008 at 5:51 PM

Am I retarded? This movie is so ridiculously absurd, that anyone who believes the crap they are spewing, I equate with truthers. The ID theory that they support has been thoroughly debunked, all three main tenets of it.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 5:53 PM

I don’t much believe in ID. But I guess I am even more of a truther. I believe God created everything in six days, oh about 6,000 years ago. Enjoy this 2,000 post thread. Thanks Ed. I have to go to work. Oh, and to answer – yes.

Corsair on April 30, 2008 at 6:13 PM

How about this?

The ID-sympathetic researcher whom the film paints as having lost his job at the Smithsonian Institution was never an employee there.
One section of Expelled relates the case of Richard Sternberg, who was a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and editor of the journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. According to the film, after Sternberg approved the publication of a pro-ID paper by Stephen C. Meyer of the Discovery Institute, he lost his editorship, was demoted at the Smithsonian, was moved to a more remote office, and suffered other professional setbacks. The film mentions a 2006 House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report prepared for Rep. Mark Souder (R–Ind.), “Intolerance and the Politicization of Science at the Smithsonian,” that denounced Sternberg’s mistreatment.

This selective retelling of the Sternberg affair omits details that are awkward for the movie’s case, however. Sternberg was never an employee of the Smithsonian: his term as a research associate always had a limited duration, and when it ended he was offered a new position as a research collaborator. As editor, Sternberg’s decision to “peer-review” and approve Meyer’s paper by himself was highly questionable on several grounds, which was why the scientific society that published the journal later repudiated it. Sternberg had always been planning to step down as the journal’s editor—the issue in which he published the paper was already scheduled to be his last.

The report prepared by Rep. Souder, who had previously expressed pro-ID views, was never officially accepted into the Congressional Record. Notwithstanding the report’s conclusions, its appendix contains copies of e-mails and other documents in which Sternberg’s superiors and others specifically argued against penalizing him for his ID views. (More detailed descriptions of the Sternberg case can be found on Ed Brayton’s blog Dispatches from the Culture Wars and on Wikipedia.)

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:13 PM

Resolute

I made this correction to your comment:
Evolution skeptics are exactly the same as global warming proponents skeptics.

jgapinoy on April 30, 2008 at 6:14 PM

davenp35 on April 30, 2008 at 6:11 PM

I watched the whole half hour. That quote comes at the end but there’s no mitigating context. He out and out said it.

I wonder if the movie (which as I said, I haven’t seen) was more careful because there were other writers and producers involved but this quote represents what Stein personally believes.

If he really thinks this and just didn’t misspeak, he’s an idiot.

Drew on April 30, 2008 at 6:15 PM

This was totally to be expected. Back when this movie first came out, Eugenie Scott (who is featured in the movie and who has been quoted as saying. “Intelligent Design is ultimately a science stopper.”) put a challenge on the “Expelled Exposed” web site that specifically was looking to refute not the movie itself, but how the movie was promoted:

Entries must include:
the full name and postal address of the entrant;
the text or transcript of a claim made by Ben Stein in promoting Expelled (not in the movie itself);
a reference, ideally a URL, showing where the claim was made;
a refutation, no more than 250 words.

So, it’s no surprise that something from outside the movie is being used as a distraction from the movie itself. The goal is to discredit Ben Stein, rather than try to discredit the movie (which they cannot do, so they don’t even try).

I agree with others that Ben Stein is not against legitimate science. He is against the abuse of science to the detriment of mankind, as we see happening right now with the human suffering that is the direct result of Global Warming “science” which is not science at all.

True science is to be honored. Junk science needs to be junked.

Red Pill on April 30, 2008 at 6:16 PM

Drew on April 30, 2008 at 6:07 PM

You obviously haven’t conducted any research on your own (meaning publishable in a scientific journal). You go wherever the evidence leads you. Period. The science started out weak under Darwin and Malthus and others and instead of going in ANY direction that the evidence has subsequently lead, those in power have taken numerous actions to stifle the debate, only because they don’t like the direction (personally and politically) that the evidence is leading people toward. That’s the point of the movie. Ben isn’t trying to get Creationism into classrooms. If you had seen the movie you would know this.

davenp35 on April 30, 2008 at 6:16 PM

So Jesus put the dinosaurs in giant gas chambers because of Science?

Or am I missing something?

lorien1973 on April 30, 2008 at 6:16 PM

@ samuelrylander on April 30, 2008 at 6:14 PM

Quoting scripture is always done in these discussions. I never know why. Its about as effective as quoting Harry Potter.

Convenient though, how religious people claim that god is all powerful, but that MAN created evil and sin. That of course is a logal absurdity, so either God is not all powerful and all knowing, or it is GOD that created evil, and then can you really call him a loving God? It makes no sense.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:16 PM

It is not at all fair or accurate to say that Stein’s film “Expelled” seeks to tarnish those who promote the theory of evolution” The main thrust of the film is to expose the stifling of decent and the spirit of inquiry with in the Academy, until recently, as yet unseen to any such a degree in the West. As such it does take means to attack and expose the intolerance and absolutism behind the The New Atheism of Darwinists such as Dawkins as well as the extant logic holes in the darwinian argument to date, to which ID was proposed merely as an alternative: ie. how to explain the origin of life, the genius of the single cell etc. with the two concepts, Evolution and ID being by no means, mutually exclusive.

It is much the same phenomenon of intolerance we are seeing in the global warming debate. (though the film makes no effort to link the two, and global warming is never mentioned, one cannot help but be reminded.) Those who challenge the status quo are ostracized, denied funding, tenure or even lose it, etc.

It is that these are dangerous times in which we live and we should be alarmed, if, for no other reason than that when science becomes doctrine, it ceases to be science at all, but rather something nasty, even totalitarian. ”

With all due respect to Derb, of whom I am a faithful weekly listener, having just seen the film last week, I feel quite certain, that Stein hasn’t gone off the beam. Nor can he be possibly anti-science. And, as I realize it may be unrealistic to expect many of you to view Expelled with an open mind, I would ask of you only this, to please give pause and let cooler heads prevail.

This really isn’t about the Scopes trial or even creationism. ID is not Creationism. The film makes this plain even if sometimes one sees the two unfortunately conflated by certain televangelists.

Please people. Let us not another schism make!

Nyog_of_the_Bog on April 30, 2008 at 6:16 PM

Evolution supporters: please help me understand where all the thousands of missing links are living today. The beings on our planet are still evolving right?

faraway on April 30, 2008 at 6:16 PM

I hope to see the movie because I want to know a little more about Intelligent Design. In my limited understanding of it, it is more of a philosophical argument, rather than scientific based. Are tenets of I.D. falsifiable? Are the hypotheses not only testable but predictable? These are the sorts of things I would like to know about I.D.

Weebork on April 30, 2008 at 6:17 PM

Francis Crick and others believed life was seeded here by aliens. Is this form of Intelligent Design acceptable to you because it is deity-free.

Valiant on April 30, 2008 at 6:10 PM

Not really, since you’d have to believe in aliens to account for your theory, and none have been observed. However, things falling to earth from space have been observed quite a bit, so we can’t rule out that life on earth was not entirely terrestrial in its origins.

Big S on April 30, 2008 at 6:17 PM

I also think that I.D. has the burden of proof to show itself as a legitimate scientific field, with all of the fundamentals necessary to be in the sciences, rather than the other way around. You cannot prove a negative.

Weebork on April 30, 2008 at 6:18 PM

Science is always done by scientists, & every scientist has an ideology.

jgapinoy on April 30, 2008 at 6:18 PM

Science does not reject religious or “design-based” explanations because of dogmatic atheism.
Expelled frequently repeats that design-based explanations (not to mention religious ones) are “forbidden” by “big science.” It never explains why, however. Evolution and the rest of “big science” are just described as having an atheistic preference.

Actually, science avoids design explanations for natural phenomena out of logical necessity. The scientific method involves rigorously observing and experimenting on the material world. It accepts as evidence only what can be measured or otherwise empirically validated (a requirement called methodological naturalism). That requirement prevents scientific theories from becoming untestable and overcomplicated.

By those standards, design-based explanations rapidly lose their rigor without independent scientific proof that validates and defines the nature of the designer. Without it, design-based explanations rapidly become unhelpful and tautological: “This looks like it was designed, so there must be a designer; we know there is a designer because this looks designed.”

A major scientific problem with proposed ID explanations for life is that their proponents cannot suggest any good way to disprove them. ID “theories” are so vague that even if specific explanations are disproved, believers can simply search for new signs of design. Consequently, investigators do not generally consider ID to be a productive or useful approach to science.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:18 PM

muyoso, sounds like you are more anti-God than pro-evolution. Aren’t we talking about evolution?

faraway on April 30, 2008 at 6:19 PM

There where and are many scientist that believe in God and do not promote evolution as the process that all life came to be. According to muyoso’s logic, they are all idiots, and should not be considered “real scientists”.

Wasn’t that the point of the movie?

AverageJoe on April 30, 2008 at 6:20 PM

@ Weebork on April 30, 2008 at 6:17 PM

If you want to learn about intelligent design, Dont watch this propaganda film. If anything, watch this film after reading about ID and how all of its tenets have failed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:20 PM

Would you folks be interested in reading commentary by this Myers guy? Click Here

pabarge on April 30, 2008 at 6:20 PM

life begins(single cell)…random mutations…natural selection…people.

samuelrylander on April 30, 2008 at 6:07 PM

Not a bad nutshell.

The irony, of course, is that evolution never begins to explain the first step … without which none of the rest can happen.

The bigger irony is that Darwin himself never claimed it did and explicitly says so in On the Origin of Species.

What almost all evolutionary-religionists miss – and Muyoso is a classic example of one who treats evolution AS religion – is the difference between microevolution and macroevolution, and the role of evolution in explaining the origins of life itself.

There is no question about microevolution; it is in macroevolution that those who are afraid to even question their religion of evolution – that evolution fails.

It has no answer for the origins of life. The irony is that actual evolutionary biologists know this well, and have known it since Darwin first made it abundantly clear.

The religion of evolution is being used to explain something it was never meant to explain. And because Muyoso and those like him treat Evolution no different than a Jihadist treats his Koran … he can’t understand those nuances. It is dogma. It cannot be questioned. He cannot even begin to acknowledge the gaping holes in the popular version of evolution … because to him and those like him, it is blind faith.

The irony is nothing short of hilarious.

That doesn’t necessarily mean another religion gets it right or that Intelligent Design is any better. But at least they do attempt to provide a possible answer. Evolution was never even meant to, no matter what the uneducated followers of the Church of Evolution seem to think.

Where and how did life in Earth begin?

The answer is clear: nobody knows.

And anybody who says they do know is operating purely from unreasoning faith … whether its based on their Bible or their seventh-grade Earth Science book.

Professor Blather on April 30, 2008 at 6:21 PM

Actually its evolution that’s a perversion of science, not ID. Evolution discredits science and I think more and more scientist are fed-up with evolution giving science a black eye.

Maxx on April 30, 2008 at 6:21 PM

@ AverageJoe on April 30, 2008 at 6:20 PM

What? When did I say that all scientists have to think alike? As long as you can prove your theory using SET scientific standards, you can research or believe whatever you want.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:21 PM

@ Maxx on April 30, 2008 at 6:21 PM

Again, scary. Where do you get this stuff?

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:22 PM

I don’t know anything about the move, really.

What I do know is that the natural, honest, philosophical conclusion of mechanistic evolution is that humans have no more intrinsic value than a nice pair of sneakers or a really good bowl of ice cream. And, depending upon how badly the person doing the valueing needs a nice pair of sneakers or a really good bowl of ice cream, the value of a person may be even less than that.

29Victor on April 30, 2008 at 6:22 PM

Consequently, investigators do not generally consider ID to be a productive or useful approach to science.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:18 PM

I’m no expert in this field, but I think ID is only about an alternate theory for the “unexplained”. There should be no competition for the “explained” since that is science.

faraway on April 30, 2008 at 6:22 PM

So, it’s no surprise that something from outside the movie is being used as a distraction from the movie itself. The goal is to discredit Ben Stein, rather than try to discredit the movie (which they cannot do, so they don’t even try).

Heh. The scientific method at work. Since they can’t prove that Stein (and ID) are right or wrong, they don’t try. However, they can prove that the movie was produced by and for creationists who use false claims to promote their beliefs.

Big S on April 30, 2008 at 6:23 PM

I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt on this.

JellyToast on April 30, 2008 at 6:23 PM

Derbyshire is simply obsessed with bashing ID. And dishonestly bashing it at that.

I EMailed him and asked why he was distorting the very theory of ID (he goes on and on about how it’s creationism in disguise), and he EMailed me back telling me to F*** off. I was quite taken aback by his crude reply, which is why I stay away from anything he writes.

TheBlueSite on April 30, 2008 at 6:24 PM

@ Professor Blather on April 30, 2008 at 6:21 PM

Glad you could tell me all of the things I think. You are wrong, as usual. I don’t care what you believe. If you think ID is a valid theory, fine. But it fails to be scientific until it can stand up to some BASIC standards. As for micro and macro evolution, you might want to do some reading on the subject.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:24 PM

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:20 PM

If you cite wikipedia one more time, that will be your third strike.

davenp35 on April 30, 2008 at 6:25 PM

Evolution skeptics are exactly the same as global warming proponents skeptics.

jgapinoy on April 30, 2008 at 6:14 PM

Indeed.

The same aversion to questions. The same insistence that the matter is settled despite a massive lack of evidence. The same demand that “consensus” be honored.

It’s an apt comparison.

A wise person admits what he doesn’t know. Anyone who claims to have universal truth on global warming … or the origin of life … is anything but wise.

Of course, that works in any discipline: if anybody ever discourages honest questions and debate … then they don’t really know what they claim to know.

It’s axiomatic.

Evolutionists are just a little more dogmatic about it because its been programmed into all of us for half a century.

Professor Blather on April 30, 2008 at 6:25 PM

jgapinoy,

I know what you mean, but it is meaningless to say that someone has ideology. That is like saying that one particular person you disagree with has an agenda. In one way or another, everyone has ideology and an agenda.

I only make this distinction because despite the ideology of the scientist, if he proposes a testable hypothesis and it works out, they, through peer review and the like, submit their methodology, and results to the rest of the scientific community to be verified and reproduced. This reproducing capability helps eliminate ideology which would taint the results of the experiment. Additionally, if someone can arrive at the same result through a completely different method, then this lends support to whatever it is being tested is more of a true, natural phenomenon rather than a projected belief from someone’s “ideology”.

Weebork on April 30, 2008 at 6:26 PM

@ faraway on April 30, 2008 at 6:19 PM

Its both.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:26 PM

@ davenp35 on April 30, 2008 at 6:25 PM

Attack the source, never the content. Typical. How can I argue against wonderful logic like that.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:27 PM

By the way- if you read much of what PZ Myers writes, you’d get the feeling that people like him are all about hate, death, and despair. Much of what he writes would be banned by most newspapers, and he wouldn’t be allowed to attack the way he does on nearly any media outlet. Just browse thru some of his various hate-filled poats through the years- the guy’s a lunatic.

TheBlueSite on April 30, 2008 at 6:27 PM

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:20 PM

Thank you and I will take your advice under advisement. Perhaps I will see it anyway, as it is a film that is very pro-ID. As a physicist in training, I believe I can sort out the information presented in the movie.

Weebork on April 30, 2008 at 6:28 PM

When you build a scientific theory through the use of an edited scientific method, in order to account for the lack of material evidence, how can you tell the difference between the ideology and the science?

MadisonConservative on April 30, 2008 at 5:44 PM

There is no problem distinguishing between ideology and science.

True science will have predictive validity.

Ideology will be puzzled at how things turn out a most of the time.

landlines on April 30, 2008 at 6:29 PM

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:18 PM

You know, taking another’s text and using it as your own without giving proper credit to the source is called plagerism. This is not looked upon very well in the scrientific community.


Six Things in Expelled That Ben Stein Doesn’t Want You to Know…about intelligent design and evolution
Scientific America April 16, 2008 – Article By John Rennie and Steve Mirsky

AverageJoe on April 30, 2008 at 6:29 PM

I only make this distinction because despite the ideology of the scientist, if he proposes a testable hypothesis and it works out, they, through peer review and the like, submit their methodology, and results to the rest of the scientific community to be verified and reproduced. This reproducing capability helps eliminate ideology which would taint the results of the experiment. Additionally, if someone can arrive at the same result through a completely different method, then this lends support to whatever it is being tested is more of a true, natural phenomenon rather than a projected belief from someone’s “ideology”.

Weebork on April 30, 2008 at 6:26 PM

What happens when grants are limited to people who think a certain way, journal editors only allow work that skews a certain way, and academia only hires people who think a certain way and then those same people act as the gatekeepers for tenure and promotion?

davenp35 on April 30, 2008 at 6:29 PM

@ Weebork on April 30, 2008 at 6:28 PM

You should DEFINITELY see it. But go in with the correct information. Know both sides, and then you will see the movie for what it is.

muyoso on April 30, 2008 at 6:29 PM

Despite what many people would like to believe, science and religion are simply not compatible.

Enrique on April 30, 2008 at 5:45 PM

Obviously, then, there are no such things as scientists who are religious.

Why yes, that’s sarcasm. How did you pick up on it?

tom on April 30, 2008 at 6:30 PM

I think the evolution/ID argument is fun though ultiimately fruitless since few if any minds will be changed.

That said I haven’t seen (though I may have missed it) anyone explain how this quote from Stein is anything other than nuts:

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 … that was horrifying beyond words, and that’s where science — in my opinion, this is just an opinion — that’s where science leads you.

Following science leads to genocide? Are all scientist just itching to wipe out a lot of people?

I agree science can be used by evil people to justify evil things but that tells us more about the evil people than it does science.

No one is actually arguing that you can not be an adherent of scientific reasoning and a moral person, right? Cause that’s what Stein says happens at the end of the scientific road.

We can agree that’s crazy, right?

Drew on April 30, 2008 at 6:30 PM

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