The Odd Blog

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An Open Letter to Ben Stein: You’re Still A Dumbass

Posted by That Other Mike on 31/12/2007


Dear Ben Stein:

I recently saw a post you made on your blog for Expelled!, your most recent attack of idiocy. I find it highly amusing, given your juvenile and ignorant claims, that the subtitle for Expelled! is “No intelligence allowed”. Here’s a word for you, Ben: irony. It doesn’t mean like iron.

As you seem to be so worried about the state of education in the US, I thought I’d set you straight on a few things. You seem dreadfully short of education yourself. Not to mention that you could use a quick lesson in some of the rules that we try to live by in modern society – like not being a compulsive liar. If you don’t know, say so; making things up to cover your ignorance is a recipe for disaster. You just end up having to make up even more lies to cover those you’ve just said.

Let’s make this short and sweet.

Ohhhh… shame. Looks like you failed from the outset, Ben. It’s a rather long and bitter diatribe. Nevermind, though. Let’s keep going.

It would be taken for granted by any serious historian that any ideology or worldview would partake of the culture in which it grew up and would also be largely influenced by the personality of the writer of the theory.

“Today’s top news story – Ben Stein discovers that human beings don’t exist in a vacuum, contrary to all expectations! More on this astonishing insight later. But first, here’s Ollie Williams with the weather.”</Tom Tucker>

No less a genius than the evil Karl Marx noted that even after capitalism succumbed to Communism, society would still be imbued with the class artifacts and cultural values of the system that preceded it. Much smarter analysts than I have noted that the whole system of Marxism, especially its sharp attacks on capitalists as a class, was motivated by Karl Marx’s envy of the much wealthier industrialist/capitalist members of the Marx family.

Before I call Ben on his lies here, just a note on the fallacy – this is called poisoning the well – it’s a fallacy wherein you associate your “enemy” with something you know your audience will disapprove of. Now, on with the show.

Evil, Ben? Really? Because he was an academic theorist who despised the way that the European ruling classes of the time trod all over the proletariat? Really? Huh. Guess that whole “compassionate conservative” thing was a bust for you guys.

Which smarter analysts? Can you name at least one? Because it seems to me that Marx developed his theories because he was a philosopher in a time when the Left was rising.

It’s worth noting, as well, that Marx did live in poverty in later life – this, however, came after he began working on his social theories.

In other words, major theories do not arise out of thin air. They come from the era in which they arose and are influenced greatly by the personality and background of the writer.

Ooooh… Not really, Benjie. You’re confusing (deliberately, I suspect) sociology and the like with real science. That’s known as muddying the waters.

(In law, this theory is known as “legal realism”. Judges make up their minds on the basis of their prejudices and then rationalize their decisions by pretending to be bound by prior case law. One might call what happens with ideologies “political realism.” Persons make up their ideologies based on their times and their life situations.)

This is all rather cute and telling about your opinion of “judicial activism”, Ben. It does rather fly in the face of the absolute morality you religious types are always talking about, though.

Darwinism, the notion that the history of organisms was the story of the survival of the fittest and most hardy, and that organisms evolve because they are stronger and more dominant than others, is a perfect example of the age from which it came: the age of Imperialism.

Woohoo! Strawman! Here, Ben, you’re trying to make out like Darwin just made up natural selection one day because he was bored oppressing native peoples. Might I also remind you that the 19thC also saw the law of conservation of energy; the discovery of the Doppler shift; Louis Pasteur’s disproving of spontaneous generation; Mendelian genetics; the Michelson-Morley experiments, showing that the speed of light doesn’t vary; and the discovery of radioactivity? Wait a minute! All of these are things used to show how Creationism doesn’t work! Aha! Now we have something of a handle on why you don’t like the 19thC, Ben.

When Darwin wrote, it was received wisdom that the white, northern European man was destined to rule the world. This could have been rationalized as greed–i.e., Europeans simply taking the resources of nations and tribes less well organized than they were. It could have been worked out as a form of amusement of the upper classes and a place for them to realize their martial fantasies. (Was it Shaw who called Imperialism “…outdoor relief for the upper classes?”)

Can anyone else say “manifest destiny”? I don’t see you agitating for the return of the Midwest and the West Coast to the Native Americans, Ben. And that is an astonishingly poor analysis of imperialism. I notice that you don’t give missionary activity its proper due for the crushing of native cultures. It’s almost as if you were biased!

But it fell to a true Imperialist, from a wealthy British family on both sides, married to a wealthy British woman, writing at the height of Imperialism in the UK, when a huge hunk of Africa and Asia was “owned” (literally, owned, by Great Britain) to create a scientific theory that rationalized Imperialism. By explaining that Imperialism worked from the level of the most modest organic life up to man, and that in every organic situation, the strong dominated the weak and eventually wiped them out,

Hate to tell ya, Bennie, but the idea of evolution was around a long time before Darwin – he added to the idea of natural selection, an idea which is entirely consistent with the evidence, but he didn’t invent it. The reason he is so celebrated among scientists is because he provided a strong evidential foundation. You know? Evidence? The stuff you don’t have for your viewpoint? Furthermore, Darwin also later wrote The Descent of Man, which argued against the polygenic (many distinct races, some inferior) thinking of the time and regarded all human differences as superficial. He was also an ardent abolitionist. Oops. Looks like you got caught in BIG lie there, Ben. Hey… here’s five bucks. Go and buy a book.

Darwin offered the most compelling argument yet for Imperialism. It was neither good nor bad, neither Liberal nor Conservative, but simply a fact of nature. In dominating Africa and Asia, Britain was simply acting in accordance with the dictates of life itself. He was the ultimate pitchman for Imperialism.

Except that he didn’t, you lying meatsack. He argued that cultural and economic imperialism would probably subsume “savage” cultures by being stronger. Which is exactly what has happened.

Now, we know that Imperialism had a short life span. Imperialism was a system that took no account of the realities of the human condition. Human beings do not like to have their countries owned by people far away in ermine robes. They like to be in charge of themselves.

Ah, Ben, Ben, Ben. Lightly-veiled appeals to the populist view of American history do you no favours.

Imperialism had a short but hideous history–of repression and murder.

Oh, dear. That’s very possibly the stupidest summary of imperialist history I’ve ever seen. I guess that’s what happens when you try to boil a complex issue down into a single sentence without much knowledge. Nice use of inflammatory rhetoric, though.

But its day is done.

Tell it to Iraq.

Darwinism is still very much alive, utterly dominating biology.

That’s because it’s backed by the evidence, dipshit.

Despite the fact that no one has ever been able to prove the creation of a single distinct species by Darwinist means,

Apart from Culex pipiens, Helacyton gartleri, Sticker’s sarcoma, Primula kewensis, ring species, Canadian sticklebacks, Malawi Cichlids, copper friendly Mimulus, Heliconius butterflies and Drosophila pseudoobscura. To name but a few. Beside, Ben, we don’t need to actually see it happen for it to be accurate – we have fossil, DNA evidence and geological evidence which points to speciation.

Darwinism dominates the academy and the media. Darwinism also has not one meaningful word to say on the origins of organic life, a striking lacuna in a theory supposedly explaining life.

Second strawman. Evolution does not deal with the origins of life: it deals explicitly and only with its development. If this happens to disprove with your origins story, that’s tough.

Alas, Darwinism has had a far bloodier life span than Imperialism. Darwinism, perhaps mixed with Imperialism, gave us Social Darwinism, a form of racism so vicious that it countenanced the Holocaust against the Jews and mass murder of many other groups in the name of speeding along the evolutionary process.

Ben Stein, you are a lying piece of shit. Social Darwinism is no more related to evolutionary biology than you are to an honest human being – which is to say not at all.

Hitler’s ideology was based around a mystical Pan-Germanism and explicitly declared a belief in a creator god who had chosen the German people as superior to all others. In other words, a sort of violent, German version of the Judaic concept of a “chosen people”. You may also want to check into what Apartheid-era South Africa thought of evolution, what George McCready Price, the father of modern Creationism, said about “degenerate Mongols”, and Henry Morris’s 1976 statement about “Hamites”. When you’ve done that, you sanctimonious, lying little turd, then you can start talking about racism, but you’d better own up to the shame on your side of the aisle before you start flinging around baseless accusations.

Now, a few scientists are questioning Darwinism on many fronts.

Yeah. And how many biologists? I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that. Less than 1%? Really? That’s astounding.

I wonder how long Darwinism’s life span will be. Marxism, another theory which, in true Victorian style, sought to explain everything, is dead everywhere but on university campuses and in the minds of psychotic dictators.

False association and poisoning the well again, Ben? Maybe an elementary logic class would be of use to you.

Maybe Darwinism will be different. Maybe it will last. But it’s difficult to believe it will. Theories that presume to explain everything without much evidence rarely do. Theories that outlive their era of conception and cannot be verified rarely last unless they are faith based. And Darwinism has been such a painful, bloody chapter in the history of ideologies, maybe we would be better off without it as a dominant force.

Again with the strawmen. Not exactly showing your smarts lately, are you, Ben? Let’s be clear – just because you’re ignorant, it doesn’t mean we all sink to your level.

Maybe we would have a new theory: We are just pitiful humans. Life is unimaginably complex. We are still trying to figure it out. We need every bit of input we can get. Let’s be humble about what we know and what we don’t know, and maybe in time, some answers will come.

We already have the answer in this case – it’s evolution. Factually supported, intellectually rigorous and capable of huge areas of explanation – it’s what science should be, unlike the superstitious nonsense you’ve been pimping lately.

Yours sincerely,

Mike

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6 Responses to “An Open Letter to Ben Stein: You’re Still A Dumbass”

  1. What do you expect from a former speech writer and lawyer for Richard Nixon 😉 The guy needs his bumps feeling. If he’s sane, I know where there’s a high-security wing full of people just as compos mentis.

    Good job, Mike, mate — and all the best for 2008.

  2. Mike said

    What do you expect from a former speech writer and lawyer for Richard Nixon

    Not much.

    The guy needs his bumps feeling.

    Retroprenology!

    Good job, Mike, mate — and all the best for 2008.

    Cheers much, and same to you 🙂

  3. “Retrophrenology”

    Got it in one 😉

  4. Ben Stein is dumb like a fox, IMHO.

    Writing on the East Coast about serious matters is tough going. If you don’t use evidence and logic, people call you on it.

    So Ben moved to Hollywood, where he just pumps out this easy nonsense and rakes in a fortune.

    He would have a hard time convincing me that he’s so dumb he believes what this movie is saying. More likely he spotted an easy market, and is taking advantage.

  5. Mike said

    A phrase which has always appealed to me and which would seem to apply in this setting: low cunning.

  6. […] 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 example of […]

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