Wednesday, April 23, 2008

That's odd, because...

...Ben Stein doesn't look like Michael Moore.

(H/T to the Mad Rocket Scientist.)


Jonathan said...

Ben Stein is world class idiot.

J. Sullivan said...

"Intelligent? Intelligent...Anyone?Anyone?Anyone?"

"Design. Intelligent Design. It's also known as? Anyone? Creation Science. The keystone of I-D would be? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?"

"Irreducible complexity."

I saw the commercial for the movie the other day and I thought it was a joke. Now, I realize, I was correct.

Tam said...

Folks have such scant knowledge of science these days that they're unable to critically evaluate anything set in front of them. They have no broad base of learning to cross check new information against.

They read Earth In The Balance or A Brief History Of Time or watch What The BLEEP Do We Know? or Expelled! and they have no method of sifting fact from bullshit, anecdote from data, analogy from experiment because Reading Is Boring, H'mkay, and only Geeks like Science...

Matt G said...

"Life would be a lot easier if only stupid people were wrong."

There you go again, Gwinny-- saying my thoughts before I can speak [type] them.

Ben Stein is NOT an idiot. He is, in fact, a very, very bright man. I have no idea how much he had to do with the direction and production and editing of the film in question.

Look at it this way: Stein beliees in God. Stein believes that God has been marginalized in scientific outlook. Well, He has. Because it's not scientific to simply stop at the part of the equation that you can't solve, and simply say "and then God moved in His mysterious ways." Which was, frankly, the way a lot of old school science explained things.

I don't think that Stein necessarily wants us to do it that way, but he believes that God is being completely ignored. Stein, as a man with some faith, thinks that's wrong.

Here's a worthwhile fact worth remembering: Lots of really smart people believe in and have believed in a higher power.

But whoever directed and edited that flick (which could have been an interesting dialogue that I might have found interesting to watch) is a tool.

Anonymous said...

If everyone understood science, and the scientific method, even reasonably well, there would be no such thing as liberalism. However, science and God are perfectly compatible, and that gets missed by most. Stein is a bright guy. He's also a human, and like all humans, he lets his personal beliefs flavor what he says.

Kevin said...

If everyone understood science, and the scientific method, even reasonably well, there would be no such thing as liberalism. - Og

That just became my Quote of the Day.

We've been discussing this film at my blog for a couple of days. There have been some excellent comments WRT the science/religion dichotomy there as well.

MadRocketScientist said...

My hero, Carl Sagan, wrote a book some years ago called "The Demon Haunted World", which focuses on explaining the scientific method and in creating a "Baloney Detection Kit" within yourself so as to better understand and critically evaluate evidence.

I recommend it to all my non-scientist friends (I have a few outside of work and my blog).

Jenny said...

Ugh.. you know, my co-worker just looked at me funny when after seeing the trailer I said the same thing... "looks like a Michael Moore movie." I can't *stand* that style of filmmaking.

That said.. I have to agree with Matt. Stein is himself quite bright, and I'll go a step further and say that the two main theses of the film (so far as I can tell from the trailer) both are fairly well supported.

One, some reasonable, trained professionals can and do infer a creator of some type from the evidence they see. Yes, make the intelligent falling jokes and FSM references, but there ya go. Right or wrong, they're still there.

Two, the consequences of applying natural selection principles to humanity in the 20th c. have been appalling - however much Darwin himself might have cautioned against it. I do wonder, come to think of it, how he'd feel having the Darwin Awards named for him.

But anyhow, none of that changes that the movie itself is just another of the insultingly bad slew of propaganda "documentaries." I guess looking back it's not a new phenomenon of our time alone, but it's a frustrating one.

Rob K said...

Tam says: "Folks have such scant knowledge of science these days that they're unable to critically evaluate anything set in front of them."

But how is that different than at any other time in history?

Tam said...

Get offa my lawn you whippersnapper!, actually it's probably no different from any other time. There may have been a brief period in the early 20th Century where the average layman kept abreast of science more than his current counterpart, but that's because there was much less science of which to keep abreast, and the changes were earth-shattering and frequent.

Anonymous said...

If the ID is true, then atom bombs function by summoning the wrath of God on our enemies.

Here is some supporting evidence:
*Only our enemies have ever been nuked. (Because we are blessed by God.)
*We developed the atom bomb first, because we are so blessed.
*We haven't been nuked yet, due to the aforementioned blessing.
*There is no evidence of nuclear explosions before humans existed, save for the Sun, which God himself created [and blessed].

Well, that explains that.

Anonymous said...

Well, Ben Stein doesn't have Moore's prodigious...mass.

More to the point, though, he does select his words and images to form a coherent story. He uses the extremes on this issue to underline his story of choice.

On the other hand, I read a book awhile back about the fudged pieces of science that somehow end up in most science textbooks as support of macro-evolution. Stein touches on one of them in the movie...but he misses it, without knowing why.

That book doesn't argue ID, but it does argue that scientists should be careful what they teach as proof.

MadRocketScientist said...

"That book doesn't argue ID, but it does argue that scientists should be careful what they teach as proof."

Unfortunately, unlike papers, textbooks are not submitted for peer review before publication, and an author can do whatever he wants to push his agenda.

Which is why I rarely spend the $100+ on a text without reading a review or six first.

Anonymous said...

Here's a handy parody of a Jack Chick track. It's about creationism, but that's close enough to ID.

Jonathan said...

for the science-minded, you might check out a site called pharyngula.

I would link it, but that may be bad form on someone else's blog.

staghounds said...

I hate it that someone who is often such a good explainer of and spokesman for politically and economically conservative thought will be remembered for this Moore-like nonsense.

But unlike Moore's work, this will be the subject of extensive, front page criticism and fact checking in general media.

Everyone who thinks clearly about "where things come from" eventually runs up against questions for which the answers are right now unknowable or unprovable by scientific method. Most answer these questions by faith- either in a deity or in the absence of one.

Honest scientists just say "I don't know yet."

Anonymous said...

See the trailer to Expelled's sequel here!