Saturday, May 3, 2008

Ben Stein and "Killer Science"

Ben Stein (propagandist for ID in the charmingly dumb film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed) has said a lot of stupid things in his time, but I think "science leads you to killing people" really takes the cake. The bit about the scientists and the Holocaust was a nice, over-the-top touch. This is a splendid rebuttal:




Really--what can I add? But I did give it a good think, and I wondered about this little part:
"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"


Scientists never told them to eat right, excercise, take vitamins, or get their kids vaccinated? Scientists never warned them against smoking or pollution? It's a very weird outlook he has.



Take Dr. Jonas Salk as an example of a person who used science to save millions of people. Take, for that matter, Edward Jenner, Louis Pasteur, Sir Alexander Fleming
or Walter Reed. All of these men of science used their abilities to save more lives than Hitler destroyed. That's good science! Science is a tool, and as such, can be used for good or ill. But just because it can be misused doesn't mean anything like "all science is bad" or "all scientists are bad." That would be a very simplistic and unfair way to think.

It's like politics, really. Politics is a tool--it can be bad or good. For example, President Nixon and Dr. Kissinger started an illegal plan of carpet-bombing Cambodia in 1969 that killed something like a half-million people and weakened the Sirhanouk government in a way that made the decimated and agitated population flock to an until-then marginal group--the Khmer Rouge. Pol Pot went on to become a world class genocidal killer. But it would be a real stretch for me to than say, "Anyone who worked for the Nixon administration is tied to genocide."



That would be akin to saying that just because Joseph Goebbels was instrumental in Hitler's rise, speechwriters are killers.

In other words, Ben Stein is a moron.

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