Stein's new movie, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," [I won't link to it!] is about the persecution of people who believe in Intelligent Design, and the difference between ID and science. Only the movie never really explains what ID is, or for that matter, what science really is!
"The definition of what science is and what should be taught as science in a world in which Asia and Europe are itching to clean our economic clocks by seeing us throw away our considerable lead in synthetic biology, genomics, agriculture and the biomedical, oceanographic, geological and energy sciences escapes Stein and his producers. ... The failure to say what science is constitutes a huge failing in this cinematic cant." Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., Bioethicist at UPennThis movie is so bad, Scientific American has produced a whole series of articles about it! Just look at the first of the Six Things that Ben Stein doesn't want you to know. Stein even takes his disdain for Darwin to the extreme, espousing the same argument about natural selection that the Nazis used to justify the Holocaust -- that the logical continuation of "survival of the fittest" is the state directed murder of the mentally ill, political dissidents, the disabled, and any other race that is found to be inferior.
... Only if you **actually read** The Descent of Man, Darwin clearly rejected the idea that weaker beings should be eliminated:
The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil.Meanwhile, the scientists who were interviewed for the film were duped; the standing ovation that Ben Stein gets is a set-up; the "guy who was fired" never worked at the Smithsonian... it goes on and on. Not all scientists are atheists -- in fact, I'm sure many of them take their religion very seriously. And not all religious people eschew science in favor of ID (in fact, I think very few.) But this movie makes it sound like we're headed for a crisis in this country! Scientific American shrewdly points out that Stein is trying to be Michael Moore, and failing miserably.
I think the thing that confuses me the most is how this man, this Jewish man, is willing to overlook Nazi racism (and general lunacy) in order to place the blame on Darwin for the deaths of 6 million. Where did the train go off the tracks? He was a poverty lawyer, a Nixon speech-writer (well, ok, that's not the best thing to have on your resume), a game show host ... I don't get it. Smart people are supposed to be smarter than this.
But this discussion again brings me back to that episode in the final season of West Wing, when Jimmy Smits' presidential candidate is asked about science and religion.
"As a Catholic who attends church every Sunday, I do believe in God, and my faith tells me that there was a designer behind it all," he says. He goes on to explain that it would be difficult to teach science without the principle of evolution, but goes on to clarify, "I don't think it's contradictory to believe in science and believe in God." Finally he explains that he feels intelligent design should not be taught in science classes because it is not a scientific theory. [emphasis mine. And thanks to the Dickinson College Student Newspaper for a recap of this speech.]Sigh. The battle rages on.