Saturday, May 3, 2008

Ben Stein's view on what science leads to

Ben Stein is the producer and main actor in the movie "Expelled", which is a propaganda piece promoting intelligent design. Ben is a well educated and seemingly intelligent person, so his production of this movie is disappointing enough, but even more depressing is the following quote from him during an interview on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.
"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."

I listened to the actual interview to see if really was as bad as it sounds, and it was. There was an additional jewel not mentioned in the above quote. He talked about the need to promote the teaching of alternative religious based theories of how life began, the origin of different species, and what keeps the planets in their orbits. Planets in their orbits?

We are facing an exponential growth in science and technology that is much bigger than what we experienced in the last century, and yet there are people who are still having trouble accepting the radical scientific advances from Isaac Newton in the 1600's. Ben Stein is not alone in this. This suggest a growing (exponentially growing?) cultural gap within society about understanding and accepting the scientific advances in the coming years. My hunch is that our advancing knowledge of how the human mind works and the nature of our moral instincts will be the next big new area of controversy.

By the way, the interview of Ben Stein is at . Click on "Behind the Scenes" and look for the April 21st show. It's a 30 minute video, mostly promoting Ben's movie. The above quote is near the end.