Ben Stein Vs. Sputtering Atheists
By Brent Bozell III
Friday, April 18, 2008
I confess that when the producers of Ben Stein’s new documentary “Expelled” called, offering me a private screening, I was less than excited.
It is a reality of PC liberalism: There is only one credible side to an issue, and any dissent is not only rejected, it is scorned. Global warming. Gay “rights.” Abortion “rights.” On these and so many other issues there is enlightenment, and then there is the Idiotic Other Side. PC liberalism’s power centers are the news media, the entertainment industry and academia, and all are in the clutches of an unmistakable hypocrisy: Theirs is an ideology that preaches the freedom of thought and expression at every opportunity, yet practices absolute intolerance toward dissension.
Evolution is another one of those one-sided debates. We know the concept of Intelligent Design is stifled in academic circles. An entire documentary to state the obvious? You can see my reluctance to view it.
I went into the screening bored. I came out of it stunned.
Ben Stein’s extraordinary presentation documents how the worlds of science and academia not only crush debate on the origins of life, but also crush the careers of professors who dare to question the Darwinian hypothesis of evolution and natural selection. the rest of the commentary
I was absolutely shell-shocked after watching Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Please let me just speak out loud and clear that this movie attempts to rebuild the Berlin wall by using the dead and children kicking a ball in an effort to discredit Charles Darwin. (1) It appeared to me that Ben Stein was eager to place the movie goers mind behind a barbwire fence of pseudo-scientific jargon concocted by the infamous proponents of the Intelligent Design movement. Yes, it was in my opinion those little, old banditos (Intelligent Designers) were attempting to strip me of my intelligence. THEIR QUALITY CONTROL FAILED! The film was a depressing, make believe documentary lacking in any real groundbreaking ceremony! Fortunately for me, this wise owl, after returning to my hotel did watch another make believe movie on the little screen. The children were actually saved in The Golden Compass, which tickled my heart! No need to Clorox any weeds in that garden! I fell fast asleep with a smile on my face and awoke with a fresh, new found hope that all is just fine and dandy in the real Kingdom of Science.
Because one of the major points of the film was to expose the atheistic thought that is very much present in evolutionary circles. This should be obvious since the most prominent (and well paid) evolutionary spokesmen are atheistic-propagandists.
I find it interesting that the evolutionists who attack the film for it’s “errors”, never say anything about Dawkins’ errors. Perhaps that is because they believe everything Dawkins says in the film - as fanciful, unscientific and absurd as it is.
Case in point, you’ve criticized the film quite a lot – and never once mentioned the scientists who openly attacked God – all of which was nicely documented on the screen.
One might conclude that you really don’t have a problem with atheistic propaganda.
ReggieM, now you are flat-out lying, and I patiently await your apology for this false accusation, if recognition of the sinful nature of bearing false witness against your neighbor means anything to you. I have always said that the problem – with both the wider discussion and with this film in particular – is that they look only at the two extremes and ignore the vast range of opinion in the middle: the Catholic, Christian, and other theistic scientists, and the many Catholic theologians who accept evolution. I’m sure Barbarian, Orogeny, Chuck, Rossum and others might bear me out on my claim to consistency in this regard.
Paying attention only to the loud, theologically ignorant yammering of atheist philosophers like Dawkins-Harris-Hitches on the one hand, and the scientifically ignorant yammering of YEC and IDC on the other, mean that real dialogue is excluded. Stein himself deliberately omitted Catholic biologist Ken Miller from the film because he didn’t want to “confuse” his audience. By this, I presume he meant he didn’t want to offer a nuanced discussion that would shoot his little one-sided tirade in the foot. For that reason, Expelled will for a time raise a bit of dust and excitement with the science-challenged. Thereafter it will drop into being a staple of church basement screenings to the scientifically illiterate, a footnote in what I hope might eventually evolve into a deep and sustained conversation about faith, science, and truth.
I think your reply here supports some of the concerns that I mentioned (keep in mind, I said that “one might” conclude … )
For example, you state: “I have always said that the problem – with both the wider discussion and with this film in particular – is that they look only at the two extremes and ignore the vast range of opinion in the middle”.
I am troubled by this because you’re posing atheism as an “extreme” and not as an evil in itself. Calling Dawkins an “extreme” implies that there is a moderate atheistic view that would be more appealing. In other words, “extreme of what”?
I see something similar in your reply here:
“the loud, theologically ignorant yammering of atheist philosophers like Dawkins-Harris-Hitchens”
It strikes me that your compaint with them is that they’re “loud” and “theologically ignorant”. But does this mean that if they were quieter and knew a lot about theology (as some atheists do) then the spread of their ideas would not be a problem?
For me, it’s the atheism, loud, soft, yammering or well-spoken, that is the problem since it is an attack against God. It’s a hatred of God – as seen very clearly on the screen in Expelled.
Yes, Ben Stein was training his focus on one target – to show audiences what is out there. Dawkins is a millionaire scientist author. Very many people do not know what he really thinks – at least not until Expelled. For this, the film had a great value.
You express concern that the film wasn’t more balanced with a variety of views. But that assumes that the purpose of the film was to show the diversity of opinion that people in the world can have. The purpose was to show how these influential and dominant voices in the evolutionist community really harbor an animosity towards God and religion (Meyers envisions a utopian world where religion has disappeared from the earth).
In other words – the purpose of the film was to expose this evil. It accomplished that task admirably, in my opinion.
My concern with your posts is that you seem to take the atheistic content lightly – like it’s “one side” in the debate, and thus we need to see “the other side”. Or perhaps like it’s a political platform - the “extreme” view vs the “moderate” view.
But as I see it, atheism is a very serious evil – a profound sin against God. It may be conscious or not, but it is responsible for the ruin of many souls, for eternity. It’s one of Satan’s greatest weapons and it brings many victories for his kingdom.
In my life, it’s a battle with these powers of darkness – and that is what atheism is. Sadly, the culture of Darwinist science fosters and generates atheism – as Dawkins himself made very clear in the film.
It would certainly be a fair criticism to say that Dawkins is a rare anomaly – a one-of-a-kind scientist who happened to become an atheist in contrast to all of his peers.
But people know that is not true. Dawkins is not a rare breed. His type is very, very common in evolutionary circles. It was not difficult for Ben Stein to find a handful of atheistic Darwinists to interview for his film. One look at evolutionary blogs and forums will reveal a very large number of atheists – of the kind that make Dawkins himself look very moderate indeed.
As for anything that appeared as a personal insult or offense my previous post – I do apologize for that. It was not intentional at all. I was merely giving my impression of how you appear in your posts. I still have that perception of you – that atheism itself doesn’t really bother you that much, but it’s the style (loud) or intelligence level of the atheist that causes you some frustration.
Again, I could be totally wrong and that’s why I said it just seems that way to me – just one man’s opinion. I do not see where I was guilty of bearing false witness against you though.
And that is a very good thing. In all the bad that is said about this film, I think it important to recognize that which is good. My issue has always been one of justice, as the topic of evolution/creationism is not my area. If this movie is propaganda, that does not change that there is also good. I don’t think there is much doubt that it falls into the category of propaganda.
Even the old earth creationists at Reasons To Believe don’t condone Expelled:
In Reasons To Believe’s interaction with professional scientists, scientific institutions, universities, and publishers of scientific journals we have encountered no significant evidence of censorship, blackballing, or disrespect. As we have persisted in publicly presenting our testable creation model in the context of the scientific method, we have witnessed an increasing openness on the part of unbelieving scientists to offer their honest and respectful critique.
Our main concern about EXPELLED is that it paints a distorted picture. It certainly doesn’t match our experience. Sadly, it may do more to alienate than to engage the scientific community, and that can only harm our mission.
jwu, this is an interesting post. Mutual alienation is something I fear: (1) religious believers who don’t understand science and are turned off from it by the distortions in Expelled’; (2) non-theists who haven’t a clue why religion is important to believers, and who persist in making absurd statements about religion. My organization is working to address this lack of communication between alienated parties.
Well Petrus, I certainly hope that you do address this lack of communication between the followers of Darwin and the rest of humanity.
As much as I’ve studied Darwin’s theory of evolution and Natural Selection I always come up with a ‘blank’. The basic idea sounds good, but I have yet read anyone that knows what they are talking about.
There’s another curious thing about evolution and Natural Selection; whenever there’s a serious disagreement with evolution and the rest of the scientific world, the definitions change along with the terminology. Can’t you people get anything straight? Maybe I’m wrong about this, but is sounds like smoke and mirrors.
I live in Australia, we’ve successfully kept mythology out of the science classroom… We also have a I think a very good education system, could be improved but were getting there…
I haven’t seen this film (bieng in Aus and no one caring, New Hellboy movie looks sweet though). But i notice it throughout my personal saviors .net site (Richard Dawkins).
It seems like a big deal, and after watching Ben Stien in his press releases it really is.
After “2 years of research” I would think that he would have at least understood the basic theory. I’m scared of this pursuit of an agenda by the spreading of misinformation, lies and deceit.
Look the fact of evolution and science doesn’t care about your god. But please don’t get in the way when science is searching for answers, for solutions to problems.
Evolution doesn’t even discuss origins of life, that’s called abiogenisis, it doesn’t even concern it’s self about the origin of the universe that’s something else (i don;t know what it’s called) and it has nothing to do with biology, does it?
Evolution is a fact and the theroy of natural selection is the best way we can explain the occurance of this event. You can’t deny something that has a ton of evidence, you can observe in small species with tiny lifespans and quick generations (you can’t have micro evolution without macro, so don’t even get me started on this)
Look if you don’t understand something say you don’t understand it, go and learn it if you care so much. If you don’t care enough don’t try and get the education system changed to reflect your personal dogmatic beliefs.
Look say all the ******** you want, he’ll it’s fun to argue with and pown against. It just pisses me right off when people screw with education, education is the light of this world, it is the what will save us all. Education I can happily say is my “god”…
Abbadon, I agree with you except for your claim that “evolution is a fact.” Evolution is no more a fact than are gravity, plate tectonics, or atoms. Rather, they are all theories – the best so far - to explain observed phenomena.
Epistemologically, facts are relatively low level things; theories are higher level constructs. That things fall down when dropped is a fact; that they fall because of gravitational attraction is the theory. That creatures are genetically related and organizable into clades is the fact; that they have descended with modification from a common ancestor is the theory.
Keep education strong in Australia. By the way, if you are Christian and theologically interested, I could put you in touch with the folks at the ATF, the Australian Theological Forum. They are the leading force in the science and religion dialogue down under, headquartered in Adelaide.
I have to admit, I’m puzzled adult stem-cells are getting as much prolonged positive publicity as it’s been getting. Maybe business plays a part. Where aborted cells go may not matter unless the abortion industry was hard-up for extra money. Maybe they aren’t hard-up. Maybe it isn’t important. Adult stem-cells are certainly easier to get. It’s always possible academia is stuck in a left-wing world and the scientific community is not the villains.
In any case, this “Expelled” hits a nerve. I don’t think the Michael Moore approach is any better than this “back at ya!” set-up I heard was at the Creation Museum. Nevertheless, I think objective looks at creationism and evolution is best. We lay-folk don’t know who these religious people offering the religion part of the religion-science debate are. Most probably wouldn’t take the time to look it over anyway, but some leaders in religion, esp. those favoring strict creationism, would be good to tell. Their flock would more likely take interest. In any case, whether it’s left-wing propagana coming from a naturalist documentary outlet or right-wing propaganda, somewhere between the two you learn something about the material. Human nature is what it is and professionals in science and theology will look at “evidence” in a particular way subconsciously and/or consciously. The followers (including those who’ve come to a field after it’s been well-established opr an establishment therein has become well-established) like to follow and that’s ok, because we can’t be masters of everything. We want to feel correct or we want to keep our jobs, reputation, etc. It’s human nature.
That brings me to a last thought. What does evolution matter anyway, beyond a philosophical level? Come on! Let’s learn how we are now. We cannot fix minds, hearts or families if we discover tomorrow we did come from apes. Who freakin’ cares?! It’s something for curious people who may have picked up an insect and wonder how it worked. Evolved or not, let’s work with what we have now. We have the Catholic Faith, souls to save, and people to help in a variety of ways, including spiritually. If science treads on that, we definitely have a duty to get involved just as we do in voting when politicians may vote against the Church’s right beliefs on the most critical topics even though we are not all well-versed on the electoral process or we forget how a bill goes through Congress. What matters in science is, how do you study something to learn about it? Standards are important, but revolutions in scientific understanding of something has happened and will happen. Let it happen. Just realize that other disciplines may have some missing pieces for you as they should see science’s role in understanding some other fields
It won’t happen like that, because we are fallen creatures, yet above other creatures due to our soul, and we will have Pharisees who will decide things with usurped power. The Church is not that usurped power as the Bride of Christ. It’s say doesn’t bother me as God created us; not “Mother Earth”. It should decide these things, I believe. It has not decided even though, unofficially, it seems to lean towards theistic-evolution. Science has become a church in academia, if not in big science. It has become a religion to elites. It’s telling stories that can never be proven. It has its creation stories that do not involve God and its miracles that do not involve God. Because God created the world and all creatures therein, many have extended science beyond its boundaries. I believe we will see the inevitable conflict in our lifetimes if we are under 50 years of age, though it could be longer.
For a scientific approach, there’s the Kolbe Center and “The Triumph of Design (design being or not being used correctly, it’s still good” film documentary by Jack Cashill. Kansas has a creation center as well.
I’m truly sorry Abbadon, evolution is not now or has it ever been a fact. Natural Selection is totally ridiculous. There is not a ton of evidence to support it. There is no evidence to support it. Take all your micro and macro evolution and it is all mouthwash!
If you’re so concerned with the level of education in Australia then you might try looking a bit deeper.
I agree with just about everything that you have said. It’s a pleasure to say that and the fact that it is a rarity makes it even better.
The one thing that I would like to say about evolution and Natural Selection is that, for the most part, those who partake of this science as “true” also hold that God does not exist. Why is this so important?
It’s important because those who don’t believe in God also hold human life at the same level as chimpanzees. You can kill a chimpanzee or experiment with it, or treat it like a stupid animal. If humans are on the same level as a chimp then we can be treated with contempt. We can be treated as a useless animal. We can be treated as something that can be disposed of with no excuses necessary.
Who would do a dastardly thing like this? The Elites. Maybe you can call them the scientists who claim to know so much. Or maybe you can call these elites the “Dawkins Class” of elites.
Maybe you can call them the elites at Planned Parenthood.
Let’s face it. Anyway you slice baloney, it still comes up baloney!
First, I didn’t see the movie, but I wanted to comment on the connection between Darwin’s thoughts and Hitler’s/the Nazis’ actions.
Ben Stein is not the first person to make this connection.
Consider that two of the “missing links” in the evolution of Darwin’s thoughts into Hitler’s thoughts are those of Francis Galton (Darwin’s cousin and the father of the modern eugenics movement) and Ernst Haekel.
Maybe Ben Stein’s claim about the connection between Darwin and Hitler is ridiculous. Maybe he is too biased. But we don’t need to take Ben Stein’s word alone as evidence. We have Darwin’s, Galton’s, and Haekel’s writings, as well as the 20th eugenicists writings. Read them for yourself and judge whether Ben Stein’s claims have any merit.
I find this entire discussion about the motivations of eugenicists and nazis to be a straw man at best. Even if it is true, and I have no interest in doing any research into it because it is totally irrelevant to me, you haven’t addressed the point made numeroust times that Hitler used the bible as a justification for his evil on numerous occasions and in several documents. How come those of you who object to evolution based on this argument keep ignoring that connection? Why do we still teach Christianity to our children if Hitler used it to justify the holocaust?
It’s funny, but in every interview that Stein gave on talk radio leading up to the release of that film that I heard, he focused almost exclusively on this argument. I have no doubt that he was using it as a way to scare people into rejecting the science that they don’t understand.