Thursday, May 01, 2008

Ben Stein thinks science leads to killing people

In an interview in Christianity Today:
I believe God created the heavens and the earth, and it doesn’t scare me when scientists say that can’t be proved. I couldn’t give a [profanity] whether a person calls himself a scientist. Science has covered itself with glory, morally, in my time. Scientists were the people in Germany telling Hitler that it was a good idea to kill all the Jews. Scientists told Stalin it was a good idea to wipe out the middle-class peasants. Scientists told Mao Tse-Tung it was fine to kill 50,000,000 people in order to further the revolution.
In an interview on the Trinity Broadcasting Network with Paul Crouch, Jr. (video is available if you follow the link):
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.
Note that he offers no qualifiers. He doesn't say science must be complemented with ethics. He doesn't say that science (like any knowledge of truths about the universe) may have negative as well as positive consequences. He simply says that science leads to mass murder.

If Stein really believes this, then he must be a genuine opponent of the practice of science, and his promotion of "Expelled" can be seen as an aspect of that anti-scientific attitude, despite the fact that he certainly takes personal advantage of many of the positive contributions of science. If he doesn't genuinely believe it, then he's not only engaging in a defamatory slur against scientists, he's also dishonest.

Either way, he's demonstrated that he is a despicable character.

And some people claim not to understand why scientists are angered by this film and its creators.

Others on this subject:
John Lynch at Stranger Fruit
Larry Moran at The Sandwalk
P.Z. Myers at Pharyngula
Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars

1 comment:

AlanF said...

Stein is an idiot.