Ben Stein Deteriorates Into Bad Self-Parody

Pop quiz: one of these quotations was written years ago by a young-earth creationist so ignorant that other YECs have tried to distance themselves from him. The other was published today, by a proponent of Intelligent Design (which, we are told, is Totally Not Creationism, Nuh-Uh) who enjoys respect within the ID community. Can you guess which is which and who the authors are?

Evolution is presented in our public school textbooks as a process that:

  1. Brought time, space, and matter into existence from nothing.
  2. Organized that matter into the galaxies, stars, and at least nine planets around the sun. (This process is often referred to as cosmic evolution.)
  3. Created the life that exists on at least one of those planets from nonliving matter (chemical evolution).
  4. Caused the living creatures to be capable of and interested in reproducing themselves.
  5. Caused that first life form to spontaneously diversify into different forms of living things, such as the plants and animals on the earth today (biological evolution).

Just a few tiny, insignificant little questions.

* How did the universe start?

* Where did matter come from?

* Where did energy come from?

* Where did the laws of motion, thermodynamics, physics, chemistry, come from?

* Where did gravity come from?

* How did inorganic matter, that is, lifeless matter such as dirt and rocks, become living beings?

* Has anyone ever observed beyond doubt the evolution of a new mammalian or aviary species, as opposed to changes within a species?

These teeny weeny little questions are just some of the issues as to which Darwin and Darwinism have absolutely no verifiable answers.

Answers after the jump.

If you said that the first quotation comes from Kent Hovind’s $250,000 Challenge, pat yourself on the back and have a shot of bourbon to help you forget.

If you said that the second one was written by Ben Stein, host of the upcoming movie Expelled, and published in the American Spectator, pat yourself on the back again, and have the rest of the bourbon to dull the pain.

Neither Hovind nor Stein apparently realizes that evolution is a theory about living beings, and does not address the question of how the universe, the sun, the earth, or life appeared, any more than Keynesian economic theory does. And by the appeal to Darwin, Stein apparently doesn’t realize that there’s been significant progress since the publication of the Origin almost 150 years ago.

Stein goes on to say that the Florida state school board has approved new standards that mandate teaching “the scientific theory of evolution”. The phrase “scientific theory” was added rather late in the process, and Stein describes the pre-“theory” standards thusly:

This was beyond Stalinism. Stalinism decreed that only Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin knew all the answers, but it did not say that subjects they never mentioned could only be studied if the student guessed at what they might have said. The proposed law in the state of Florida was an anti-knowledge, anti-freedom of inquiry law on a scale such as has rarely been encountered. Maybe in Pol Pot’s Kampuchea there were such laws, but they have been unknown in the USA until now.

Wow. I’ve heard Dawkins and Harris described as shrill, but as far as I can remember, they never compared a school board’s standards document to Stalinism.

As for stifling knowledge and freedom of inquiry, need we look any further than the 1925 Butler Act, which forbade teaching evolution in Tennessee (the law under which John Scopes was tried)? And what about the current efforts to ban embryonic stem cell research on the religious grounds that embryos have “souls”? Is that not “anti-knowledge, anti-freedom of inquiry”? And what of religion’s long battle against other religions and competing ideas? Hey, Ben, I hate to tell you, but there’s a beam in your eye.

In fact, after reading this paragraph five or six times, I’m not sure Stein is for real. Maybe he’s been playing an elaborate prank on us for years, trying to come up with something so outrageous that no one will believe it. But of course, Poe’s Law says that that’s impossible.

This entry was posted in Creationism, FFS, Intelligent Design. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ben Stein Deteriorates Into Bad Self-Parody

  1. Ian says:

    Forget about Stalin – he upped the ante to Pol Pot! Compared to Pol Pot, Stalin was a benevolent ruler who tolerated dissent. What raving lunacy.


  2. Troublesome Frog says:

    Every time I see these idiotic questions, I’m reminded of a retort that I think I saw on Slashdot:

    Oh, we’re actually talking about the theory of evolution. You seem to think that we’re discussing Darwin’s less famous work, On the Origin of Spacetime.


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