Ben Stein's Expelled - Part VI

25 November 2007

Ben Stein has a new trailer for his new pro-creationism movie. It doesn't take long for Stein to set up the issue as a stark choice between "Everything on earth was created by a loving god" versus "Some think we're nothing but mud animated by lightning." The way he sets up the question, and makes a gross, oversimplified caricature of evolutionary theory immediately made me think of this South Park clip:

But wait. It gets stupider. Stein immediately resorts to Nazi comparisons. As a video of Hitler takes over the screen, Stein narrates: "This isn't Nazi Germany," and proceeds to decry the "persecution" of creationists. Later in the trailer, Stein says that "Darwinism" is "dangerous," while simultaneously showing clips of Nazi death camps. Basically, Ben Stein is nothing but a rhetorical bomb-thrower.

Just to remind everyone, when Larry Craig (R-ID) was arrested for soliciting gay sex in an airport bathroom (where there had been previously reported incidents of lewd behavior), Stein was the first to compare the arresting officer to a Nazi. According to Ben Stein: "Gestapo, Gestapo, Gestapo!" (yes, that is a direct quote).

Stein quickly gets into the Sternberg affair. As I've written before, Sternberg circumvented the normal editorial process to publish a substandard pro-ID paper in a scientific journal. He immediately lied about his access being revoked, and the harshest penalty he received was having his fellow scientists complain about his lack of integrity behind his back. This is a far cry from Nazi-style persecution. But according to Ben "persecution complex" Stein, Sternberg "found himself the object of a massive campaign that smeared his reputation and came close to destroying his career." According to Sternberg, he was being punished merely for seeking "freedom."

Stein goes on to say that publishing this paper would not have been a problem in the era of Galileo. That's really a funny claim to make, since arguing anything other than the contents of the paper would probably get you a place in front of the Spanish Inquisition. Hell, they threatened Galileo with torture and death just for advocating heliocentrism in a roundabout way. But this claim is doubly dubious, since we didn't have the genetics, paleontology, biology and geology that has been confirming evolutionary theory over and over again for the past 200 years.

According to Stein, Sternberg was just being "punished" for going "against the "status quo." It's painfully obvious that Stein is going to milk this "rebel intellectual" image for all it's worth. According to Stein, the media, the courts, and the educational system are all out to get him. I think that this quote sums up the movie best: "It's going to appeal strongly to the religious, the paranoid, the conspiracy theorists, and the ignorant."

This is really the epitome of propaganda.

Part I: Ben Stein misrepresents Guillermo Gonzalez's denial of tenure
Part II: Ben Stein misleads his interviewees
Part III: Ben Stein misrepresents the Sternberg affair
Part IV: Ben Stein compares evolutionary theory to Naziism
Part V: Ben Stein appears on the O'Reilly Factor to compare creationism to relativity theory

UPDATE: It looks like Ben Stein sees a psychiatrist to deal with his fear of losing:

Although he wins more than three-fourths of the $5,000 trivia contests on the Emmy Award-winning game show [Win Ben Stein's Money], Stein is tortured by his losses. That mix of shock, disbelief and self-hatred isn't rehearsed; he says he sees a $250-an-hour psychiatrist to deal with his fear of losing. Stein's wallet is stuffed with affirming notes from the psychiatrist that say things like "This game does not measure your real intelligence, which no one would ever question" and "You are a star, and they can't take that away from you."
I guess this might go towards explaining why Stein frequently rolls out the Nazi comparisons, and thinks that everyone who says he's wrong is trying to persecute him and stifle his free speech.

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