Does anyone remember a few months ago, when I wrote about Ben Stein? No? Here, then, I’ll jog your memory. Ben Stein and his involvment in that piece of cinematic excrement Expelled! “inspired” me to–if you’ll excuse the term–resurrect a certain recurring character from the very early days of this blog. Yes, I’m talking about the ever-dreaded Hitler Zombie, who returned after more than a year’s absence to take a huge chomp out of Ben Stein’s brain.
Now we’re seeing the results of that chomp, and I’m not just talking about the ridiculous claims in Expelled! that “Darwinism” leads inevitably to Nazi-ism and the Holocaust. No, according to Stein, it’s not just Darwinism that leads to Nazi-ism that leads to the gas chambers and ovens. Get a load of what Ben Stein has said explicitly in an interview with Paul Crouch on the Trinity Broadcasting Network:
Stein: When we just saw that man, I think it was Mr. [PZ] 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.
Stein (speaking about the Holocaust): …that was horrifying beyond words, and that’s where science — in my opinion, this is just an opinion — that’s where science leads you.
Crouch: That’s right.
Stein: … Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people.
That’s right. To Stein, it’s not just evolution (or, as he likes to call it, “Darwinism”) that leads to the gas chambers. It’s science itself. Words fail me to describe the depths of stupid that Stein plumbs here. “The stupid, it burns” and the many variants of it that I like to use are all far too impotent a condemnation of such ignorance.
There you have it: The core of fundamentalist Christian distrust of science, which makes it particularly despicable to hear a Jew like Ben Stein parroting this version of science to a fundamentalist audience that laps it up appreciatively. Many of this same audience see the establishment of the State of Israel as a step along the way to bringing about the Final Judgment and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Truly, the Hitler Zombie fed long on Stein’s brain. There’s nothing left.
I realize that I’m late on commenting on this particularly stupid and vile statement by Ben Stein, one that practically every skeptical blogger on the planet has already properly excoriated him for, but the reason that I mention it now is because just yesterday I became aware via Stranger Fruit and Pharyngula of a new Jack Chick Tract that sounds so eerily like Ben Stein these days. Check it out, if you don’t believe me:
Particularly hilarious is how the little boy is drawn after he has fallen completely under the sway of “evolution” (well, the unbelievably over-the-top misinformation about what evolutionary theory actually says is pretty hilarious too). I mean, look at the crazed eyes! Leaving that aside, though, if you read the entire Jack Chick tract, you’ll see that its message is in fact very similar to that of Ben Stein. Don’t trust that evil science! It turns you away from God! It makes you think you can become a god yourself! It leads straight to the Holocaust!
That’s right: Ben Stein has descended to the utterly batshit level of crazy insane that Jack Chick has inhabited for years. Worse, the message that science leads to rejection of God, which leads to the Holocaust or other such atrocities is a message that seems to resonate, and it’s all mixed up with a ridiculous straw man version of evolution that every evolutionary scientist (or anyone with a modicum of understanding of the basics of evolution) immediately recognizes as bogus.
How do rational, scientific people deal with such a toxic mix of antiscientific activism? Some people are clearly beyond reaching, so how can we combat them and keep them from dragging the U.S. back to a new Dark Age?