Friday, September 11, 2009

Ben Stein Being Sincere and Not So Sincere

Ben Stein, speechwriter for presidents, host of the great game show "Win Ben Stein's Money," which, sadly, is not still on, and narrator of the movie Expelled! has been fired from his gig writing for the New York Times. As if William Kristol's example wasn't enough of a warning to other conservative writers, the Grey Lady will simply broach no conservatism. I am convinced that David Brooks puts his job on the line every time he writes a column. There are also some unanswered questions about why Stein was fired and it is reasonable to conclude that the reasons that were given are not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Along the way, however, he says some things that simply are not so. About the movie Expelled!, he writes the following:
Expelled was a plea for open discussion of the possibility that life might have started with an Intelligent Designer. This idea, that freedom of academic discussion on an issue as to which there is avid scientific disagreement has value, seems obvious to me. But it drives the atheists and neo-Darwinists crazy and they responded viciously.
No, it wasn't a plea for open discussion. Expelled! was a vicious diatribe against any and all things evolutionary, ending with the bald, unsupported claim that Darwin's views directly informed Hitler about how he was to treat people. This was complete with scenes of concentration camps, lest any viewer be unclear about just how evil evolution actually was. Furthermore, some of the cases that Mr. Stein profiled were not quite as he profiled them. See the excellent article "Expelled Exposed" for a recap of all of the claims and the holes in them. For added information about how dishonest the movie was, read this article by John Rennie and Steve Mirsky on "Six things in Expelled that Ben Stein doesn't want you to know." Does the end of destroying "Darwinism" really justify the means, especially when the means aren't very different from those that you decry?

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