The Odd Blog

And when our cubs grow / We'll show you what war is good for

Ben Stein Is A Big Fat Idiot

Posted by That Other Mike on 20/11/2007

Ben SteinWell, that may not be fair. He certainly isn’t that tall, so big fat idiot might not be accurate. Hmmm. And looking at his picture, he doesn’t seem particularly fat, I guess. Which leaves us with idiot.

I think that one’s justifiable, on the statement apparently given to promote his new Creationism-pimping film, Expelled (Note to all readers: this statement was seen at the Parsley Patch, which is why I don’t got no linkage).

“I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish.

Great. Until you get back to pre-Sapiens, of course.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians.

Sure, why not? That seems reasonable.

I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.

BZZZZZZZZZZT! Oops. Three sentences in, and Ben stopped being reasonable. Let’s hear how Christians are pushed around, Ben. Is it not being able to impose their religion on everyone else?* Is it not being able to push religion into a science class?

I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country.

From your own twisted little brain, Benala. That’s what we thinking people call a strawman – where you construct a false version of someone else’s position, set fire to it and then claim victory. Nobody claimed that America was supposed to be Atheist. What lots of very much smarter people than you said was that America is supposed to be secular. You may have heard of it; it means religiously neutral. You know the word; it’s what you depend upon to be able to air your religious views without fear of state reprisal when they’re not the right ones.

I can’t find it in the Constitution

I can help! It’s the part that starts Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. You are welcome!

and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Just like oral sex.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too.

No, that’s a sign (in green neon) that says “Strawman Ahead!” Motorists beware.

But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to. In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Well, that’s good. Ben is notoriously short on funny.

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Clayson asked her “How could God let something like this happen?”(regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound andinsightful response. She said, “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get
out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our
lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out.
How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”

Yes, folks, that’s the best response anyone’s ever offered to the argument from evil, and it sucks mightily. Apparently the all-loving, all-merciful God has taken His Ball And Gone Home In A Snit over 30 years or so of religiously-neutral government. What a swell Guy!</sarcastic emulation of religious capitalisation>

In light of recent events…terrorists attack, school shootings,
etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn’t want prayer in our
schools, and we said OK.

Poor old Maddy has come in for a lot of stick over the years. For what it’s worth, prior to Engel v. Vitale, the Supreme Court decision which definitively ended teacher-led school prayer throughout the USA, various State Supreme Courts had declared mandatory prayer un-Constitutional; Iowa, for example, did so in 1910, and by 1962, the year of the SCOTUS decision, only 5 States had required Bible reading laws on the books, 25 had it as an option, and 11 had declared it un-Constitutional. The remainder had no laws on the subject. Clearly, the trend was in favour of a voluntary phasing out of mandatory prayer.

Another issue here, where Stein is clearly lying, is that the relevant decisions (Engel v. Vitale, Abington Township School District v. Schempp) which did away with forced Bible-reading only peripherally involved O’Hair. The case she was famous for was Murray v. Curlett, which was amalgamated into Schempp by the time it reached the SCOTUS.

While we’re on the subject, O’Hair’s disappearance was roundly ignored by the Austin PD and FBI. Nice going, Christians! Way to show morality.

Then someone said you better not read the Bible at school.

Liar. Truly voluntary religious activities in schools have never been illegal, and never will be.

The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself.

It also says that God murdered the entire world in a flood in a fit of anger, shows Moses murdering someone in secret and says that anyone who curses should be executed. Want to trade some more Bible quotes, Ben?

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when
they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and wemight damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide).

First, anyone who can’t solve a problem without resorting in the first instance to violence has no business claiming anything about morality; second, beating children? What the hell is wrong with you? A child is smaller than you, more easily harmed and fragile in so many other ways; anyone who beats his child is a bully who isn’t doing anything but claiming that violence is an acceptable solution when faced with a problem. Someone does something you don’t like? Why not just beat him senseless? That’ll teach him some manners!

If people went around in adult society treating each other that way, I think Ben would have something to say about that; he’d probably blame it on Atheism, of course.

Oh, and Dr Spock’s son did not commit suicide. His grandson, Peter, did; he was a long-term schizophrenic. Frankly, Ben’s use of him as political capital is disgusting, not to mention a lie; I guess his adherence to Biblical morality doesn’t extend to the prohibition on lying.

We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said OK.

Ironically, here Ben is using his celebrity to give the guise of expertise. And so, unknowingly, he sort of proves his point; don’t pay attention to some guy who tries to act like he’s some kind of superior intellect, because he’s frequently a jackass.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with “WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.”

You thought wrong; giving you the benefit of the doubt that you actually thought about this crap before you wrote it, Ben, you still didn’t get any of it right. The only part of it that is halfway right is the reaping-what-you-sowed-ing; the kind of economic policy people like you advocate causes poverty and the social ills that go with it. That, little Ben, is what is causing murder in the classroom, not some made-up crisis about a silly little book.

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says….”

Yes, because a fundamentalist theocracy is just the kind of paradise we want to live in. Ask this guy.

Honestly and respectfully,

Wrong on both counts; I don’t count insulting my intelligence as any kind of respect, and you lied all the way through.

Ben Stein

The only part he got right was his name.

Let’s face it, folks; the world will be going to hell in a handbasket when we let a lying, Nixon-apologising, two bit actor like Ben Stein lecture us on morality.

And the greatest irony of all? The tagline for “Expelled” is

No intelligence allowed


* I know that most Christians don’t do this. Most Christians are moderate, relatively sane people.

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31 Responses to “Ben Stein Is A Big Fat Idiot”

  1. Jason said

    Great post.

  2. mek1980 said

    Thanks!

  3. Selena Parsley said

    Is that kick ares post???

    * I know that most Christians don’t do this. Most Christians are moderate, relatively sane people.

    Jeeze, thanks.
    Blessings & Peace,
    Selena

  4. mek1980 said

    WARNING! Do not kick Ares! The God of War becomes very angry when kicked! lol

    No, that was a different one. I took every scientific claim in that CEM thing you posted and ground them into tiny pieces. *sigh* I was proud of that.

    Oh, well. C’est la guerre.

  5. *applaudes*

  6. Popscience said

    ah, nothing like a bit of justified cynicism to get you up in the morning. haven’t heard of this film, i wonder if it will show over here? love your blog.

  7. mek1980 said

    You love me, you really love me!

    Ta much to both. Always nice to have one’s genius appreciated… Must. Keep. Straight. Face.

  8. Little Nicky said

    Science will not help you people. I’m afraid there’s no hope. But, the pineapple may await you, and surely you’ll love it!

  9. mek1980 said

    *blinks* OK. Uh. Thanks for commenting.

  10. But, the pineapple may await you, and surely you’ll love it!

    Rings or chunks, because I’ll only touch rings… hmmm… maybe I should rephrase that…

    Nah. 🙂

  11. mek1980 said

    Oh dear. He’s at it again.

    *injects Gary with sedative*

  12. It’s been that kinda day — all rings, holes and fish.

    Hurry up with the sedative.

    P.S. Do you “get” the pineapple reference?

  13. mek1980 said

    Umm… Apart from the header, SpongeBob and mau mau…?

  14. Oh, I never read headers lol. I thought it was some peculiar southern predilection 😉 (It is?)

  15. mek1980 said

    It may be. Unfortunately, I can’t discuss it with a cave dweller.

  16. Bad said

    I didn’t know about the thing with Spock’s son. That is amazingly vile of Stein to so dishonestly exploit that just to make a cheap curmudgeonly swipe.

  17. mek1980 said

    Well, it’s not even true, for one; both his sons are still alive. But I agree, cheap swipe.

  18. Selena Parsley said

    Contrary to a popular rumor, Dr. Spock’s son did not commit suicide.[citation needed] Spock had two children: Michael, formerly the director of the Boston Children’s Museum and since retired from the museum profession. However, Spock’s grandson Peter did commit suicide on December 25, 1983 at the age of 22 by jumping from the roof of the Boston Children’s Museum. [7] He had long suffered from schizophrenia.

    My Bad.

  19. mek1980 said

    Well, we all make mistakes. Except me.

  20. Selena Parsley said

    * grins * 🙂

  21. Bad said

    Did some digging: Snopes says that the second part about the Graham quote, was not actually written or said by Stein:

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/benstein2.asp

    So Stein didn’t say or endorse the vileness, at least that anyone I can find can show. He’s off the hook for that bit of bullshit.

  22. Selena Parsley said

    Yes, it was from an email and I just copied & pasted it.

    *Blushes*

    But I am still glad that this film is coming out as I am a narrow-minded, delusional believer of creation. 😀

  23. mek1980 said

    Well, then, let it never be said that I am not magnanimous or unwilling to accept when I’m wrong (even though, as you all know, this is the first time I’ve ever been wrong about anything); Ben Stein is hereby downgraded from vile idiot to idiot.

    Long may his reign continue.

  24. Manda said

    Great rebuttal. Here was my response, though I like yours better. 😉

    Mand.

    ———-
    I would like to respond to this email forward that I’ve seen floating around the internet recently. It is a propaganda piece which purports to be by Ben Stein. In truth, the majority of the piece is not by Stein (His piece ends after the comment about Nick and Jessica. The rest was cobbled together from anonymous messages circulating on the Internet since late 2001. You can read the original on his Web site). However, since the email is being mass forwarded as is, I am going to respond to it in its entirety.

    The Stein commentary begins with an acquiescent anecdote about Christians and Jews, giving the illusion that the message will be one of harmony and goodwill. When I first started reading the email, I thought, ‘It’s about time. What a beautiful, non-discriminatory email encouraging peace and acceptance among humanity.’ However, after the initial two paragraphs, the email quickly turned divisive.

    The email was in fact not about unity, but was in fact a poorly veiled attempt to convert readers to religious adherence and to promote the mergence of church and state. After the initial anecdote, the email itself was quite segregatory. It was quick to create a divide between religious and non-religious. Then, proceeded to blame everything from terrorist attacks to Hurricane Katrina on those who do not worship God.

    To those of you who have forwarded this email to me, let me first say I am sure you have sent this with the best of intentions, believing you were doing your part to create world peace. But harmony arrives in the form of human kindness, acceptance and compassion, not through segregation or attempts at forced conversion. Stein’s comments about being free to interpret God as we understand him have merit, but the distortion that follows needs to be challenged.

    I would ask that anyone receiving this email to deeply reflect on the statements made in this message and consider whether they are truly in the spirit of harmony and peace.

    I mean no disrespect. I like you and always will. But I believe it our responsibility to challenge harmful thinking, especially when it arrives under the guise of Godliness. I have added my comments below.
    _______
    My confession:
    I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are: Christmas trees.

    It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

    I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

    >>America is not an atheist country; however, it does have a secular government. The constitution is very clear about that. The First Amendment explicitly prohibits the government from establishing or controlling religion. This means the government is not allowed to coerce adherence to religion, or to compel the support of religion against an individual’s will. The effect of this arrangement is that Americans are free to worship, believe, and support religion as they see fit. Secular government allow Christians and Jews to co-exist. Before secularism, it was not such a safe thing to be a Jew in a Christian-majority nation.

    Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.

    >>This is an illogical correlation. You do not need to be religious to reject corporate media culture.

    >>Note: This is when Stein’s commentary ends. The rest has been added anonymously by other emailers, under the pretence of being by Ben Stein. ****

    Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her “How could God let something like this happen?” (regarding Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”

    >>How can one even consider attributing hurricane Katrina to a lack of allegiance to God. Anyone who believes in the New Testament should be horribly offended by such insinuation. Do we liken the flu pandemic of 1918 as message sent by God? More than 20 million people died from that flu. At best, this is thinly-veiled fear mongering. (By the way, the last time I received this email, Graham’s comments were in reference to 9/11).

    In light of recent events…terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school.

    >>First of all, terrorist attacks are not caused by lack of religion. In fact, they almost always carried out by religious extremists. Second of all, referencing O’Hair’s murder as some sort of backhanded way of condemning atheists is appalling. O’Hair and her children were murdered callously by a man she had exposed for stealing money –not because the United States Supreme Court agreed with her that it was non-constitutional to force bible readings in public schools.

    >>Though while we’re on the topic of O’Hair, it is perhaps insightful to note that while O’Hair worked to defend non-Christian children from violence and persecution, those who were adamant about keeping religion in schools responded with aggression (Her son’s kitten was strangled, her home was stoned, and she received several profane letters in the mail, including photos smeared with feces and another that threatened her life: “You will be killed before too long. Or maybe your pretty little baby boy”).

    The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

    >>Scholars have found little if any original moral thinking in the Bible – the Ten Commandments were laid down by Hammurabi before Moses. Also, while commandments 5-10 do address morality (1-4 do not), admonishments of this kind are found in virtually every culture throughout recorded history.

    >> “Do unto others…” is a wonderfully moral precept; however, numerous teachers have preached the same message centuries before Jesus (Zoraster, Buddha, Confucius, Epictetus). And, it is scientific fact that moral emotions (like a sense of fair play and an abhorrence of cruelty) precede humanity itself!

    >>All of our primate cousins are partial to their own kin and generally intolerant of murder and theft. They tend not to like deception or sexual betrayal much either. Chimpanzees, especially, display many of these complex social concerns. There are obvious reasons why children treat their parents well and think badly of murderers, adulterers, and thieves.

    Morality was not created by the bible. We, as human beings, use our own moral intuitions to decide what it is ethically right. That is why most religious moderates would never stone a non-virgin bride to death on her father’s doorstep (Deuteronomy 22:13-21), or beat the child with a rod (Proverbs 13:24), or murder someone because they are homosexual (Leviticus 20:13), or kill a child who talks back (Leviticus 20:9; Mark 7:9-13; Matthew 15: 4-7), or keep slaves (Leviticus 25:44-46; 1 Timothy 6:1-4), or sell their daughter into sexual slavery (Exodus 21:7-11) or kill their first born as a sacrifice to God (Exodus 22:29-31).

    It is our responsibility as humans, to hold ourselves morally accountable and question those convictions which are harmful to our fellow neighbour.

    Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said OK.

    >>I very much doubt that Spock’s ideas about child care (being loving and affectionate towards children rather than refusing to pick them up, kiss them, or hug them because “that would not prepare them to be strong and independent individuals in a harsh world”) were the cause of terrorist attacks. Nor do I think believe that Spock’s recommendations against infant circumcisions because he “could find no convincing reasons for it other than religious rite” were the cause of school shootings. (The rite of circumcision emerges as a surrogate for child sacrifice Exodus 4:24-26).

    >>Furthermore, Spock’s son did not commit suicide. Spock had two children, both of whom are still alive today. The fact that thousands of people have forwarded this email without questioning its legitimacy is reprehensible. And even if this had been true, referencing such an awful event is just as appalling as referencing O’Hair’s murder. Get the facts here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Spock

    Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

    Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with “WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.”

    >>This is very true. The basic tenet of morality is about not doing harm to others. We need to apply this universal law to our every action.

    Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.

    >>One of these things is harmless, the other is the cause of countless wars and needless persecution.

    Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace. Are you laughing? Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it. Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

    Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it… no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in. My Best Regards.

    >>Simply copying and pasting or hitting the forward button is not engaging in the thought process.

    Honestly and respectfully,

    Ben Stein

    >>This is a forgery. Stein’s words ended above where I noted.

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  26. tristan said

    “expelled” funded by discovery institute? the only reason these guys are discredited is because they don’t do science. more religious propaganda. and i thought ben stein was an intellectual. turns out he’s just a dry, boring, tool.
    these folks want to take us back to the dark ages where we cower in fear of speaking our minds. religion demands to be respected; i don’t know of any scientists trying to change the way people express belief, yet here come the christian soldiers trying to interfere with science, something they know little about.

  27. […] I would like to thank Mike, author of The Odd Blog, for his dedication to exposing fools and liars who insist on promoting creationist propaganda. Ben Stein’s Expelled! is but one […]

  28. rooftopguitar said

    Hey, I just came across this and thought you should know that Ben Stein did not write that entire message. Sure, a good chunk of what you’re commenting on was written by Ben Stein, but the rest was added by someone else. Here is the original writing and the source I pulled it from:

    Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart:

    I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they so important? I don’t know who Lindsay Lohan is, either, and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise’s wife.

    Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are. Is this what it means to be no longer young. It’s not so bad.

    Next confession: I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

    I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

    Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him?

    I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.

    http://www.benstein.com/121805xmas.html

  29. Mike said

    Yeah, that came up earlier in the comments. Thanks for taking the time and effort to reply, though. 🙂

  30. stillandreabeth said

    I know I’m really, really late to the party here but I have a particularly dark place in my heart for Ben Stein and this is a really great rebuttal (I mean, anything with a little more thought to it than canine diarrhea would be a suitable rebuttal to this drivel but this is above and beyond). It’s a shame that such an incredibly intelligent guy is such a Christian supremacist. I have no problem with him practicing his own religion but if he’s trying to mandate that *I* have to pray to *his* god on *my* time, he can go suck a duck. What part of “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion” do people not understand?

  31. To be honest, I’m not sure that Ben Stein is intelligent. I know he knows how to appear intelligent…

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