Ben Stein wants to “ruin American competitiveness”

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We all know that Ben Stein thinks that “science leads you to killing people”. The following is a quote from a 2002 article Stein wrote for Forbes magazine, in which he offers “a few suggestions on how we can ruin American competitiveness and innovation in the course of this century”. Forbes’ readers probably thought that Stein’s “suggestions” were meant as satire, but in light of recent events, it is clear that he was in fact serious about doing his part to tank America’s economic future (presumably to avoid all the people-killing caused by sound science education).

12) Elevate mysticism, tribalism, shamanism and fundamentalism–and be sure to exclude educated, hardworking men and women–to an equal status with technology in the public mind. Make sure that, in order to pay proper (and politically correct) respect to all different ethnic groups in America, you act as if science were on an equal footing with voodoo and history with ethnic fable.

Ben Stein, “How to Ruin American Enterprise”, Forbes 12/23/2002

EDIT: Someone in the comments has argued that Ben Stein’s Youtube snippet and quote above must have been taken out of context. You can actually watch the entire TBN interview here. If anything, the thing is even more embarrassing in context, with Stein exposing his abysmal scientific ignorance for half an hour before casually condemning half a century of scientific progress as murderous. If you don’t have the stomach for the whole thing (and I don’t blame you), you can go to the quote itself just after minute 28.

202 Comments

Seriously this has become beyond ridiculous… this guy is like a poor caricature. How do we even comment on this, it is beyond absurd… as often is the case with so many creationist they can seem lucid and intelligent at times, but then have no sense of logic and reason… absurd I say!

Somewhere there’s a cartoon about this. An irate customer goes to return a product claiming that it doesn’t work. The salesman offers the customer a job to sell the product at a hefty increase over his current current salary. Without hesitating the customer says “When do I start?”

Of course Stein will try to weasel out of it by claiming that he had “Darwinism,” not ID, in mind as the “mysticism,” “fundamentalism” etc.

And his co-author on Expelled doesn’t seem to care much about science either.

From Kevin Miller’s blog earlier today:

“I have no reason to doubt that humans and chimps share 98.5% of their DNA or whatever the number is. Most biologists assume that means humans and chimps descended from a common ancestor. And I have no philosophical objections to that. But I have always wondered: Could that same information be used to argue for a common creator as opposed to a common ancestor? Perhaps he/she/it used slightly different versions of the same code for humans and chimps. Or is there an accumulation of junk DNA at the same points in the human and chimp genomes, which would point toward them sharing the same DNA at some point in history? I haven’t had time to look into it.”

http://kevinwrites.typepad.com/othe[…]-isnt-a.html

(Kevin’s comments are a ways down the page.)

Amazing. I’m beginning to think Ben Stein has some sort of brain disease…

Kevin Miller Wrote:

But I have always wondered: Could that same information be used to argue for a common creator as opposed to a common ancestor?

How on earth does someone “always” wonder that without at least once noticing the false dichotomy staring him in the face? The first thing that comes to any mind with a basic grasp of logic is “If there’s a common creator, how might he/she/it actuate that common design other than the in-vivo process of common descent?” Of course a logical mind with a prior commitment to mislead the “masses” will not dare speak that.

Miller must surely know by now that Michael Behe ended that riddle once and for all in the ID community. While most ID activists still hide behind the weasel word of “common design” Behe made it clear that the process includes common descent. Since no other major ID activist has ever challenged him directly, it’s a safe bet that they all know that the formal alternative of independent abiogenesis is an extraordinary claim with no evidence, and that the only reason to keep repeating the breathtakingly inane “common descent vs. common design” bait-and-switch is to placate the clueless creationist base.

Benjamin J. Stein (Forbes Magazine, 2002) Wrote:

My list need not end here. But I stopped at a dozen because I realized that this is already, in large measure, the program of so many of our elected representatives. The debauchery of our tort system is already in place, and the rest of the agenda is under way.

As I read his article, I kept asking myself, “Who is this directed at?” In his final paragraph he says “elected representatives”. He doesn’t mention lobby groups, or any other influences.

He has written the article in such a way that almost anyone who reads it can think of an ideological bogey man to blame. Thus, anyone of any ideological perspective can read this and find a reason to blame someone else.

This, in itself, is a type of demagoguery that is divisive and induces paranoia. Rather than giving specifics about how to go about solving specific problems, it charges the atmosphere for battle among ideologues. There are no solutions offered anywhere.

Apparently the seeds of Stein’s divisive tactics were already evident back in 2002.

I have watched this carefully and now conclude that Speechwriter, Economist, Lawyer, Actor, Opportunist Mr Ben Stein is little more than an opportunistic infection working its way through the bowels of American culture.

This, too, shall pass.

And just how in the plantoons did them IDer fellers let a Jew become a Spokesman for a Christian Scientific Institute??!! You could just about predict this wasn’t going to turn out good.

-RPTH Award Winning Interblogger (multiple categories and sanctions)

What else has Stein written? Has he praised laissez-faire social Darwinism for instance?

Great find. Not that I don’t think it’s a good thing, but maybe when we get done searching for deeper meaning in shallow water (id is still weak as water), and we’ve had our fill of rummaging through old Ben Stein columns, we might find the time to examine why and how our press has been subverted by the warmongers and Christocrats. The distance between truth and lie shrinks daily. Soon it won’t matter what any of us godless scientists think anyway. These are people who will pray their own children to DEATH before thinking of going to a ‘real’ doctor. You think we’re not up against some seriously dedicated nutjobs? Think again.

Stein is greedy, foolish, seriously deluded or a withes combo of the three.

Enjoy.

Pete, sure Stein has praised Milton Friedman and his emphasis of laissez-faire in Time Magazine.

Of course the youtube video shows absolutely no context of Stein’s remark about “science killing people.” (Abortion may be called a science, to dismiss this statement outright is too simple) He may have been facetious for all we know, as he obviously is in the Forbes article. Taking a man’s rhetorical remarks, of which remarks are meant to be taken as the exact opposite of how Ben really feels, and presenting them as being how he literally meant them, is disingenuous. And secondly, Ben does not advocate shamanism or tribalism or fundamentalsim to be equal with technology, or for voodoo to be equal to science. Is the implication being made here that Intelligent Design is voodoo? and that all matters of faith or religious conviction are the same by virtue of not being a material process? If so, then why relegate the Creator as being nothing more a shaman? why not relegate the shaman as not existing in light of the real Creator? Where does the discernment between these entities come from, for the materialist? Nowhere. Therefore, I can see no way for any legitimate comparison to be made between religious systems, and therefore a false analogy.

Jake said:

Of course the youtube video shows absolutely no context of Stein’s remark about “science killing people.” (Abortion may be called a science, to dismiss this statement outright is too simple) He may have been facetious for all we know, as he obviously is in the Forbes article. Taking a man’s rhetorical remarks, of which remarks are meant to be taken as the exact opposite of how Ben really feels, and presenting them as being how he literally meant them, is disingenuous.

Sounds like what ID’ers do all the time. Here is the full quote

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 thats where science - in my opinion, this is just an opinion - thats where science leads you.

Crouch: Thats 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.

absolutely no context of Stein’s remark

Why do you assume that nobody else has seen the context just because you haven’t? The entire interview is available online. Posting more than a snippet on YouTube would have been a copyright infringement.

Also from Ben Stein’s piece in Forbes:

1) Allow schools to fall into useless decay. Do not teach civics or history except to describe America as a hopelessly fascistic, reactionary pit. Do not expect students to know the basics of mathematics, chemistry and physics. Working closely with the teachers’ unions, make sure that you dumb down standards so that children who make the most minimal effort still get by with flying colors. Destroy the knowledge base on which all of mankind’s scientific progress has been built by guaranteeing that such learning is confined to only a few, and spread ignorance and complacency among the many. Watch America lose its scientific and competitive edge to other nations that make a comprehensive knowledge base a rule of the society.

What a difference 6 years makes, huh? Speaking of dumbed down standards, Mr. Stein, how’s it going with all those “Academic Freedom” bills you’re promoting?

How about this quote:

“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.” C.S. Lewis

There is no question as to whether the men of Germany that Ben is refering to were educated or not. Their education may have been scientific, or it may have been general. But the point of view that secular education, as an end in itself, without moral guidance and instruction, will operate morally, is just wrong. And there would exist no reason to begrudge anyone acting in any way, unless we bring in a standard of morality from which to judge their behavior. But if “our standard” is also ruled out, we can do no judging on moral issues. There will never be a scientific imperative for morality, because “is” can never lead to “ought.” When we practice what we call “good science” it means science that is sound in itself, but also not offensive. Organ Harvesting of the infirm or mentally challenged may be sound, as far as it’s methodology and effectiveness, but no one would call that “good science” who has moral understandings.

Jake said:

Of course the youtube video shows absolutely no context of Stein’s remark about “science killing people.”

So, you think Stein was taken out of context? Then what was the context? When the Liars For Jesus™ get caught quote-mining, someone usually puts in a link explaining the full context of the quote, and how it’s being misrepresented. I notice you haven’t bothered doing this. You don’t even speculate on what possible “context” would make it reasonable to accuse scientists of mass murder, as Stein clearly did.

Jake threw in a right-wing kneejerk: (Abortion may be called a science, to dismiss this statement outright is too simple)

So, now you’re bringing up abortion. I don’t suppose there’s any way abortion connects to the actual statements Stein made, other than in your delusions of course.

Jake babbled further: He may have been facetious for all we know, as he obviously is in the Forbes article. Taking a man’s rhetorical remarks, of which remarks are meant to be taken as the exact opposite of how Ben really feels, and presenting them as being how he literally meant them, is disingenuous.

Oh, NOW you think he may have been facetious? And what, pray tell, is your evidence in support of this claim? Note, the sworn testimony of the voices in your head does not constitute evidence.

Are you really dense enough to think Stein, who just got finished making a movie that falsely blames scientists for the Holocaust, is just joking now about accusing scientists of murder again? Or do you think Expelled *jazz hands* was a joke from the beginning?

Jake almost gets the point, only to fumble: And secondly, Ben does not advocate shamanism or tribalism or fundamentalsim to be equal with technology, or for voodoo to be equal to science.

Here, it seems, is the one thing you’ve said that’s anywhere close to the truth. He’s not advocating fundamentalist delusions as being EQUAL to science, but implying that those delusions are SUPERIOR to science. This only serves to make his claims even more ridiculous.

Jake flails about helplessly: Is the implication being made here that Intelligent Design is voodoo? and that all matters of faith or religious conviction are the same by virtue of not being a material process? If so, then why relegate the Creator as being nothing more a shaman? why not relegate the shaman as not existing in light of the real Creator? Where does the discernment between these entities come from, for the materialist? Nowhere. Therefore, I can see no way for any legitimate comparison to be made between religious systems, and therefore a false analogy.

Intelligent Design is supported by exactly as much evidence as voodoo, which is to say, none at all. There is not the slightest shred of evidence that this “creator” of yours even exists, much less that it takes the exact form asserted by any religion known to man, less still that YOUR personal imaginary friend is the correct one. There is no evidence that any shaman invoking supernatural powers is engaging in anything more than self-delusion or fraud.

If you want your beliefs to be taken seriously, find some evidence. But you won’t, because you’re not even looking.

There will never be a scientific imperative for morality

Morality comes from socialization. Science may be able to explain how that socialization comes about, but science isn’t really meant to be a guide to morality by itself. Science helps us explain how the world works, not why it works or how we think it ought to work. This isn’t a novel or controversial subject.

Ah, Jake, are you by any chance leading up to the classic creationist argument that there can be no morality without god?

Did you know that advancing that laughable excuse for an argument marks you as a sociopath whose sole basis for moral behavior is fear of punishment by the invisible man in the sky?

This is why creationists can constantly lie without the slightest hint of remorse. This is why they can falsely accuse others of mass murder while fantasizing about killing off most of the human race, and not even notice the contradiction. They don’t really have any concept of morality, they’re just faking it. And then they project their failings onto anyone who dares question them.

Jake said:

How about this quote:

“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.” C.S. Lewis

There is no question as to whether the men of Germany that Ben is refering to were educated or not. Their education may have been scientific, or it may have been general. But the point of view that secular education, as an end in itself, without moral guidance and instruction, will operate morally, is just wrong. And there would exist no reason to begrudge anyone acting in any way, unless we bring in a standard of morality from which to judge their behavior. But if “our standard” is also ruled out, we can do no judging on moral issues. There will never be a scientific imperative for morality, because “is” can never lead to “ought.” When we practice what we call “good science” it means science that is sound in itself, but also not offensive. Organ Harvesting of the infirm or mentally challenged may be sound, as far as it’s methodology and effectiveness, but no one would call that “good science” who has moral understandings.

Wow. That’s all I can say. Wow. I do think a copy of his article should be used any time you actually confront Ben Stein.

daoud said:

Wow. That’s all I can say. Wow. I do think a copy of his article should be used any time you actually confront Ben Stein.

No, Stein didn’t write that article! Teh Ebil Darwinistas used a time machine to plant it to make him look stupid.

See, it all makes perfect sense!111one!!1

PD:

What else has Stein written? Has he praised laissez-faire social Darwinism for instance?

Stein has a huge volume of written work. Speech writer for Nixon. He also writes a stock market column on Yahoo-finance and IIRC, The New York Times.

I read one of his columns before knowing who Stein was. It was so stupid and insipid that a special note was made not to waste 2 minutes again on that guy. Apparently he was completely wrong about the stock market and the housing/bank crisis and anyone who took him seriously is now out a lot of money.

he was completely wrong about the stock market and the housing/bank crisis

Yes, and then wrote at least one column a few weeks back (linked from PT I believe) blaming the stock market collapse on a conspiracy of brokers to manipulate prices. So I guess it doesn’t matter if it’s science or economics, Stein smells conspiracy everywhere. No wonder he still defends Nixon, another famous paranoiac.

“Looking for God – or Heaven – by exploring space is like reading or seeing all Shakespeare’s plays in the hope you will find Shakespeare as one of the characters or Stratford as one of the places. Shakespeare is in one sense present at every moment in every play. But he is never present in the same way as Falstaff or Lady Macbeth, nor is he diffused through the play like a gas. If there were an idiot who thought plays exist on their own, without an author…, our belief in Shakespeare would not be much affected by his saying, quite truly, that he had studied all the plays and never found Shakespeare in them.….”

C.S. Lewis, The Seeing Eye

Naked Bunny with a Whip said:

he was completely wrong about the stock market and the housing/bank crisis

Yes, and then wrote at least one column a few weeks back (linked from PT I believe) blaming the stock market collapse on a conspiracy of brokers to manipulate prices. So I guess it doesn’t matter if it’s science or economics, Stein smells conspiracy everywhere. No wonder he still defends Nixon, another famous paranoiac.

Conspiracy theories, like invisible sky-gods, make for an automatic ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card with regard to providing explanations. They can be used to explain ANYTHING because they can do or cover EVERYTHING. It’s the Deux Machina fallback that can get you out of any trouble. It’s the irrational person’s equivalent of “the dog ate my homework.”

And likewise, what it means to be “you” can never be discerned by hair or skin analyses. The person who claimed that they have studied “you” and found that you have type O negative blood and brown hair and a dark complection, and that the analyses was complete, would in no way affect the opinion of your friends as what it means to be “you”. The material portions are the facade, there is a mysterious unknown sea behind it. Intelligent Design is within you, and I see that it is in nature. To study nature herself, misses what it means to be “her”. When you remove “her” because of materialist commitments, you remove “you” by the flip side of the coin. But surely this is a contradiction, how could “you” discover anything either way about “her”? If there is no her, there is no you, for at the bottom you would both be the same, a metrialistic entity. Are you willing to say that the whole of “you” is discoverable in a lab?

Is it possible that Stein could be suffering from some form of dementia? It may be that he’s developing Alzheimer’s or something similar and is being exploited by the Discovery Institute and allied parasites. I’ll have to dig it up, but a critique of one of his recent economics columns I read last week noted that he seems to have forgotten the definitions of assets and equity, too.

Maybe there’s something genuinely wrong with him?

Okay, Jake, we get it. You reject the very idea of evidence, and you worship C.S. Lewis As Author of All Things.

You admit that there is not the slightest shred of evidence to support anything you’re saying, and you actually seem quite PROUD of that fact.

Why, then, should we take your beliefs any more seriously than faith in Allah, Zeus, Olidammara, or The Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Jake said:

“Looking for God – or Heaven – by exploring space is like reading or seeing all Shakespeare’s plays in the hope you will find Shakespeare as one of the characters or Stratford as one of the places. Shakespeare is in one sense present at every moment in every play. But he is never present in the same way as Falstaff or Lady Macbeth, nor is he diffused through the play like a gas. If there were an idiot who thought plays exist on their own, without an author…, our belief in Shakespeare would not be much affected by his saying, quite truly, that he had studied all the plays and never found Shakespeare in them.….”

C.S. Lewis, The Seeing Eye

Were you trying to make a point by quoting Lewis, Jake?

Is that what you think evolutionary scientists are doing? Looking for god? Why would they be looking in space?

Man, you really do not have a clue, do you.

Science gathers information. Information is a tool. The proper use of that tool is for societies to decide. As you say, “is” != “ought”.

Don’t try to jam your particular morality / creation myth into high school biology classes, and we won’t try to force your pastor to teach the facts of evolution. Deal?

The material portions are the facade, there is a mysterious unknown sea behind it.

Maybe. How would you go about proving that? Just because it pleases you on an emotional level doesn’t mean it’s a fact.

I think you’ve been reading too much Hesse and Castaneda along with your Lewis.

Jake retreats into solipsism:

The material portions are the facade, there is a mysterious unknown sea behind it.

So, what you’re saying is, reality doesn’t exist. The world around us, that we can see and touch, means nothing. The study of the natural world is ultimately futile, becasue it isn’t really real. You reject evidence because in your diseased mind, there is no such thing.

JJ said:

Science Avenger said:

Change my tune? I attack their ideas and writings plenty. I just see the fact that they don’t even attempt to play the game they are claiming so loudly that they can win as a very relevant fact in the debat.e

Not necessarily changing the entire tune.…how about an ever so slight adjustment in.…pitch? I did not intend to suggest that you don’t attack the meaty issues. I am just asking you to consider trying to attack less the man and more the argument - and by all means attack ideas with gusto. I think this will benefit the debate.

The debate has been done. The problem is that the ID advocates haven’t produced anything NEW to debate. Their ideas are bankrupt; their methods dishonest and incompetent; and their public advocates demonstrably liars. If you feel otherwise, feel free to point out precisely where I’m wrong, of course.

JJ said:

However, they are not liars or idiots.

The onus is on you to prove that they are not idiots, despite the fact they espouse pseudoscience as dogma while refusing to acknowledge that they refuse to do any science, and the the onus is on you to prove that they are not liars, despite the fact that they have been demonstrated to constantly spread falsehoods and slander.

If Ben Stein is telling the truth, then please tell us what proof there is that Charles Darwin’s writings inspired Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin to commit their respective atrocities.

Stanton said:

The onus is on you to prove that they are not idiots

In all seriousness, that is really quite easy. Dembski got a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Chicago. This is by its self is really enough to prove the point. But, he was also a postdoctoral fellow at MIT and Northwestern. He holds 3 masters degrees and 2 PhD’s.

Behe holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania. (Just to make sure everyone knows the University of Pennsylvania is not some average state school. It is a well respected private institution like the University of Chicago.)

Wah-Lah! (yes, that is not the official spelling). Can we call this point satisfied and move on to the liar charge?

Stanton said:

The onus is on you to prove that they are not idiots

Oh one more.…Ben Stein graduated with honors from Columbia University and was the valedictorian of his class at Yale Law School.

JJ said:

Stanton said:

The onus is on you to prove that they are not idiots

In all seriousness, that is really quite easy. Dembski got a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Chicago. This is by its self is really enough to prove the point. But, he was also a postdoctoral fellow at MIT and Northwestern. He holds 3 masters degrees and 2 PhD’s.

If Dembski’s degrees are in Mathematics, then why does he feel qualified to criticize Evolutionary Biology? Why is it that he has never been able to demonstrate his “Explanatory Filter” to his critics?

Behe holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania. (Just to make sure everyone knows the University of Pennsylvania is not some average state school. It is a well respected private institution like the University of Chicago.)

Then, how come Behe triumphantly proclaimed in his book, Darwin’s Black Box that the only function of the vertebrate antibody is to mark a potential pathogen for phagocytosis, even though any microbiology textbook or immunology textbook will state that antibodies have several functions besides initiating phagocytosis, such as initiating apoptosis, stimulating the activity of mast cells, agglutinating pathogens, blocking the active sites of pathogens, and even neutralizing the metabolic activities of bacteria? Why did Behe state that there was no research being done on the evolution of flagella, the vertebrate immune system, or the vertebrate blood clotting cascade system, even though using a search engine like PubMed will bring up thousands of such research papers?

Why was it when Behe was presented with a literal stack of research papers concerning the evolution of the vertebrate immune system, he dismissed it without even looking at them?

Perhaps you could ask the science blogger, ERV about how Michael Behe addresses his critics?

Wah-Lah! (yes, that is not the official spelling). Can we call this point satisfied and move on to the liar charge?

No, it is spelled Voilà, and this point has not been satisfied at all.

In fact, Salvador Cordova of the Discovery Institute came here, once, and claimed that Charles Darwin was wrong because Charles Darwin did not take the equivalent of 20th century American high school algebra, nevermind that Cordova repeatedly refused to explain why or how high school algebra was vitally integral to formulate an understanding of how “descent with modification” works, or why and how high school algebra was vitally integral to (allegedly) debunk Evolutionary Biology.

JJ said:

Stanton said:

The onus is on you to prove that they are not idiots

Oh one more.…Ben Stein graduated with honors from Columbia University and was the valedictorian of his class at Yale Law School.

Then please explain why Ben Stein went on television demanding why “Darwinism” can not explain gravity, and please explain why being valedictorian of his class in Yale excuses him from falsely claiming that Charles Darwin is the root of all 20th Century evils, from racism, and Nazism to Stalinism and abortion?

In fact, the only people at the Discovery Institute who would potentially be qualified to make criticisms of Evolutionary Biology are Phillip E. Johnson and Michael Behe, but the thing is, all of the books Phillip Johnson wrote suggest that he hired other people to do his schoolwork for him, and that the only reason why he got a degree in a biological science in the first place was because Reverend Sun Moon commanded him to do so in order to destroy Evolution. As for Michael Behe: as I, and many many other posts on this blog have pointed out, Michael Behe’s scholarly abilities are abysmal, and he purposely blinds himself to any contrary evidence presented to him.

As for Intelligent Design proponents being dishonest, please explain why the producers of “Expelled” saw fit to lie to Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, Eugenie Scott, and The Killers about the intentions of “Crossroads,” as well as hiring Ben Stein to pin the blame of every evil in the 20th Century on Charles Darwin, and please explain we are disallowed from saying that this is dishonest.

Stanton said: If Dembski’s degrees are in Mathematics, then why does he feel qualified to criticize Evolutionary Biology? No, it is spelled Voilà, and this point has not been satisfied at all.

One of Dembski’s PhD’s is in philosophy as is one of his master’s degrees. Part of the work he did during these philosophy degrees was at Northwestern University on the history and philosophy of science. One of his other master’s degree is in statistics - which is at the heart of some of these arguments.

But, my point is not that their arguments are correct. My point is to refute your “idiot” claim. Can you (or anyone on this board) admit that these are very smart men?

bump

I’m sorry I haven’t gotten around replying on this earlier, first prioritizing other comments as your reply was so obviously proving my point, then recovering from an unfortunate computer accident. (The computer, not me. :-P) [And now PT eated my comentz. Some dais iz not LOLweb.]

However I note other commenters have kept you busy in the mean time.

JJ said: Wow, you have just rendered useless an entire scholarly field. I will get to work notifying all of the scholars who are still working on it.

Try broadening your horizons:

It is true that philosophy of science is a scholarly field. However, it has no bearing on science and its successes which would continue in its absence. Why it is so is quite simple in my not so humble opinion - it isn’t an empirical science of science, something I think is sorely lacking. (But could be quite as difficult as say neuroscience in uncovering how and why such a general and detailed phenomena as science works.)

So instead of speaking against my point that science and scientists works well on empirical questions and agree on it under peer review your reply speaks for it. The very few scientists that work with philosophy of science doesn’t constitute the peer review group under consideration here.

As for your claim that philosophy of science is useless if science works without it I don’t think it is true. Philosophy is “thinking about thinking” and makes no claims on empirical relevance as science does.

The important message to take home here is that we need empirical methods to criticize existing science results. Creationism doesn’t provide that and ID is a socio-political movement that doesn’t help students in their education. In fact it is harming students as far as their education science goes, but also their education on religion and philosophy - ID is bad theology.

JJ said: I can see why these interweb discussions turn sour so often. I must confess more than a measure of frustration.

As frustrated as scientists or people knowledgeable in science is with creationism lying about science for anti-scientific purposes? Somehow I doubt other sources of frustration can reach that deep.

JJ said: “those people”

Your words. But what do they mean? An identifiable group? Sure, ID and creationism in general are identifiable. So how is that a problem?

JJ said: Stanton stated earlier

If it was a mistake it’s his responsibility. If so it is hard to claim that it wasn’t an honest one, as the Wedge document is religiously motivated. It wasn’t a creationist quote mine practice, if that is what you allude to.

However, you are wrong in claiming that we “berate” IDists for their mistakes, we (rightly) criticize their lies and lack of empirical relevance for empirical science.

JJ said: It is absurd to dismiss an idea because the author did not do any original research.

It isn’t in science - in fact it is the only relevant criteria. Remember, no results, no science.

I fail to see how you construe this as an “ad hominem”.

More importantly here, absence of results is not science education. I would think that if you are concerned with its quality, this point should be important, and a question to ask yourself or creationists - where is the science? Why do you insist that empirical irrelevancies could improve science education? Are you an explicit or implicit supporter of the Wedge strategy, and if so, why?

Or you could say that ID is just a side show.

JJ said: Then you make logical errors and at least one blatantly false statement(with which you beat your opponents).

I forgot this: I didn’t see any logical errors on my nehalf, OTOH it seems to me that you try to lay Stanton’s comment on me, which is truly a logical error. :-P

JJ said: I am trying to say that attacks should be at the theory and not all of these side issues, including personal demonization.

Well, that is the problem, isn’t it? ID doesn’t constitute an “attack” on any science. OTOH it is just that quality, the absence of fact and theory, that science adherents attack.

JJ said:

But, my point is not that their arguments are correct. My point is to refute your “idiot” claim. Can you (or anyone on this board) admit that these are very smart men?

William Dembski embraces pseudoscience, and has been unable to demonstrate that Intelligent Design “theory” is even scientific. He has failed abominably to disprove The Theory of Evolution“Darwinism” through logic, science or philosophy. If anything, the fact that the majority of the senior staff of the Discovery Institute suggest that even intelligent people are capable of great idiocy.

So, tell us, why should we be forbidden from using the epitaph “idiot” to describe a person who is adamant about supporting a known and proven pseudoscience, to the point where he readily slanders people whom he disagrees with, such as Professor Eric Pianka and Judge John E. Jones 3rd? Would it be better if we used the terms “snake-oil salesman” or “slanderer” to describe William Dembski, instead?

JJ said: In all seriousness, that is really quite easy. Dembski got a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Chicago. This is by its self is really enough to prove the point.

JJ said: One of his other master’s degree is in statistics - which is at the heart of some of these arguments.

I fail to see how possesing a degree has any relevance to the point of these IDiots being idiots about biology. In fact, the easily demonstrated point of Dembski not being a professional mathematician (no research, bungles statistics in his creationism texts) tells us he as an idiot about math as well.

I was going to refrain from the subthread on whether you are another troll visiting this site, but the amount of comments belaboring the same points makes it necessary. Yes, you likely are. At the very least, the behavior you display in this subthread is usually labeled “concern troll”.

Most of us is satisfied with calling a spade a spade. That may be a problem for new readers, but OTOH they will have to catch up on the discussions here and understand why this is the usual manners on science blogs. After more than 10 years of ID following “creationism science”, all the time without scientific results, the questions are settled. ID sucks, even among its followers.

Stanton said:

JJ said:

But, my point is not that their arguments are correct. My point is to refute your “idiot” claim. Can you (or anyone on this board) admit that these are very smart men?

So, tell us, why should we be forbidden from using the epitaph “idiot”

Because it is dehumanizing and escalates the emotional investment in the argument. This clouds the reasoning capabilities of humans. It leads to people taking sides, increasing levels of bias and a degradation of the debate.

So, then, what do you recommend as an apt description of a person who claims that Charles Darwin was wrong because he did not take 20th Century American high school algebra, but refuses to explain exactly how high school algebra is necessary to debunk Charles Darwin’s observations, or how to refer to someone who has been paid to claim that Charles Darwin is the root of all evil in the 20th Century?

Since no one would describe a nonhuman as an “idiot”, I find the claim that using the term is dehumanizing, to be completely without merit.

The simplest way for the IDer/creationists to stop being called idiots is to stop acting like idiots.

Torbjörn Larsson, OM said:

I fail to see how possesing a degree has any relevance to the point of these IDiots being idiots about biology.

It doesn’t mean that they are not wrong - even profoundly and persistently. It does not mean that they are not biased. It does, however, mean that they are not idiots. Constantly calling people idiots and liars leads, as I mentioned above, to the dehumanization of the subject. Idiots don’t get PhD’s from the University of Chicago. Idiots don’t spend time at MIT and Nortwestern. Can no one simply concede that (some of, not all ID proponents) these guys are very smart without adding a diatribe and an insult? I promise to leave this subject alone if I one person will do this. I will be happy to address the liars charge next - related to the Expelled movie - getting into nitty gritty details of specific cases.

If I have offended, I am sorry. That is not my intention.

Science Avenger said: Since no one would describe a nonhuman as an “idiot”, I find the claim that using the term is dehumanizing, to be completely without merit.

Torbjorn,

It seems clear that I have profoundly offended the members of this board. I really truly am sorry. I may well have earned some of the scorn that I am now receiving.

But, when I am responded to like this post above.….I do feel like I need to continue making my point. Can I ask for your comments on this response from Science Avenger?

JJ said:

It seems clear that I have profoundly offended the members of this board. I really truly am sorry. I may well have earned some of the scorn that I am now receiving.

You haven’t offended us (at least not me), you’re just annoying. You spend a lot of time saying virtually nothing, when you aren’t urging us to pretend the IDer idiot liars aren’t what they are. You remind me of JJ Ramsey who posts on sciblogs, and who I avoid like the plague for exactly these reasons. Pedanticism gets boring in a hurry.

Science Avenger said:

Since no one would describe a nonhuman as an “idiot”, I find the claim that using the term is dehumanizing, to be completely without merit.

No one would describe a nonhuman as a racial slur. Are racial slurs not dehumanizing?

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This page contains a single entry by Andrea Bottaro published on May 1, 2008 11:30 AM.

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