Pharyngula

I apologize in advance

Forgive me. This is disgusting.

Glenn Beck + Ben Stein.

Stein repeats his ignorant caricature of the origin of life as “lightning striking a mud puddle,” and then…oh, man, this was unbelievable:

If they’re so sure that they’re right, what are they afraid of? If they’re so sure that their position is unassailable, let the other guy talk and then blow him out of the water and say, “You fool, you didn’t know this, this and this.”

Gosh. That sounds exactly like Pharyngula.

This is exactly what we all do over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. And now Stein has the gall to pretend we never engage the creationist claims?

Comments

  1. #1 MAJeff
    December 4, 2007

    This is exactly what we all do over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. And now Stein has the gall to pretend we never engage the creationist claims?

    Since you’re not neighbors, he can lie about you all he wants.

  2. #2 Rey Fox
    December 4, 2007

    “You fool, you didn’t know this, this and this.”

    Ah, but saying “fool” is an ad hommynum, and it proves that we’re insecure in our position ’cause we’re getting mad!

    But of course we could play that game all day (and of course, we do). Because what Ben “didn’t know” could fill a warehouse.

  3. #3 Alexander
    December 4, 2007

    I want 5 minutes of my life back. Both these guys are idiots!

  4. #4 Rachel I.
    December 4, 2007

    “…they’re being force-fed one liberal, socialist, anti-American point of view…”

    Yes, Mr. TV Host, all those godless humanists are out to get you, and it’s not your fault! I’m shocked he didn’t add “godless” and “communist” to the list. He even expresses both the Christian “oppressed minority” attitude and the “we are the majority of Americans, if you object you’re anti-American!” approach in one sentence, bravo.

    Not even gonna listen to Stein, the host alone is just too much.

  5. #5 merkin j. pus-tart
    December 4, 2007

    “well, how did life begin? They don’t have an answer. I mean they have an answer, but it is a B.S. answer. It is an answer that would not make sense to a small child.” So, one of the great questions for humankind should be so easily answered that a child can understand? I am fairly confident my seven year old wouldn’t buy that spare rib story . . . that is too childish a story.

  6. #6 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    December 4, 2007

    …then blow him out of the water and say, “You fool, you didn’t know this, this and this.”

    Well, you’ve been doing this for years but they have been sticking their fingers in their ears and singing “Mary had a little lamb” as loudly as they can, and “I can’t hear you! I can’t year you!”

    And then when you walk away in exasperation, they smugly smile and say “You have no argument and you get mad, anyway. Two points for me.”

  7. #7 Eric
    December 4, 2007

    Oh the horror. And to think that both of these people can apparently make a living by feeding unadulterated crap to the right-wing masses. I just spent half the night listening to Dawkins lecture videos, and then I top it all off with THIS. A five minute mind-rape.

  8. #8 Kseniya
    December 4, 2007

    I nominate you all for sainthood: You each gave up 5 minutes of your lives, so that I wouldn’t have to!

    [*weeps in gratitude*]

  9. #9 Kristine
    December 4, 2007

    “It used to be that you could count on every family owning one book – the holy bible.”

    Right. Ever heard of Jews, Beck? Like Ben Stein? Why does Stein let him get away with that?

    Stein himself sounded slurred – is he on anti-depressants, perhaps?

  10. #10 Zeno
    December 4, 2007

    Ha! Stein says Beck is such an extremist that he originally thought Beck was a parodist.

    And Beck thinks it’s a compliment.

    Smug and smugger.

  11. #11 Skemono
    December 4, 2007

    Glenn Beck + Ben Stein.

    Oh geez, don’t do that! I think I threw up a little just reading those names in conjunction.

  12. #12 garth
    December 4, 2007

    why do all creationist arguments come off like a guy with a powerful gun firing wildly while standing facing 90 degrees away from his target? they bring out heavy artillery of sarcasm, smugness, and dishonesty, and then miss completely. it’s pretty funny.

  13. #13 Bob O'H
    December 4, 2007

    Oh noes!!onetyone!! We scientists are pushing our agenda of … science. How naughty!

    Oh, it’s OK, it’s only you American scientists who have to apologise. We Europeans are allowed to corrupt our youth.

    Bob

  14. #14 Janine
    December 4, 2007

    Darwin did not know this and Darwin did not know that and lightning strikes a puddle of mud and a 767 comes out of it.

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

    But his statement the scientists are afraid to argue over the different points of evolution. Perhaps because I am a complete dumbass but where is this suppression of the creations? And discrediting evolution because it does not answer how life began. Once more, I will show my ignorance about science but is not the theory of evolution about how life changes, not how life began? This entire enterprise is flawed from the start.

  15. #15 DLC
    December 4, 2007

    Does watching Beck and Stein (Beck’nStein… new monster!)cause you to need more antacids ?
    Nobody ever debates the cdesign proponentsists ?
    Uh, since when?
    The theory of evolution has had a mountain of confirmatory evidence, carefully checked and reviewed, over the last how many decades ?
    special creation has presented what in evidence for creation? An ancient contradictory text written in the pre-scientific era. When was it peer reviewed? when were the attempts at falsification of the theory of creation ? How about a little evidence forcreation, Mr Stein, instead of merely naysaying evolution. Oh right. . . there isn’t any, is there, Ben?
    In fact, all you’ve got is rhetoric, isn’t it, Ben ?
    Rhetoric, Dissimulation, quoting out of context and Lies.
    The standard fare offered by politicians and witch-doctors for the last 8000 years. Well, it’s not enough Ben. Not by half.
    [blood pressure returning to normal, respiration returning to within nominal limits. Rant ending.]

  16. #16 Christianjb
    December 4, 2007

    I’m not so much offended by Beck, but by the fact that CNN- which used to be a serious news organization has decided to employ him, Nancy Grace, Lou Dobbs et al to drum up ratings.

    It’s like with Bush- I have nothing against stupid people per se, but I’m less than convinced he should be entrusted with the nuclear button.

    What puzzles me is why CNN feels it can only beat FOX by becoming stupider than FOX. Why not counter FOX’s idiocy with, you know, intelligent programing?

  17. #17 Ryan
    December 4, 2007

    Ben Stein is an idiot. I made a blog post about him not too long ago:

    http://aigbusted.blogspot.com/2007/11/ben-stein-expelled.html

    Peace,
    Ryan

  18. #18 Patrick Quigley
    December 4, 2007

    If they’re so sure that they’re right, what are they afraid of? If they’re so sure that their position is unassailable, let the other guy talk and then blow him out of the water and say, “You fool, you didn’t know this, this and this.”

    Right back at them. If the ID position is so strong then why did Stein and friends feel that they needed to lie to PZ, Dawkins, etc. when soliciting sound bites for their movie? Why don’t the ID scientists present their scientific results in peer-reviewed journals? Why do the ID crowd keep lying about their religious agenda in court?

    I’ve become convinced that the defining characteristic of these people is a pathological need to engage in constant psychological projection.

  19. #19 soteos
    December 4, 2007

    What is that I see? Little tufts of hay poking out from Ben’s shirt? A long piece of wood running down his back? Crows floating ominously overhead? Why yes, it would appear that Mr. Stein himself is a strawman.

  20. #20 craig
    December 4, 2007

    I was going to say “I don’t know if I’ve ever heard so much flat out lying on a TV news channel in 5 minutes before.”

    But of course, I have. I don’t think I’ve ever heard 5 minutes of straight-out truth telling before though.

  21. #21 G. Tingey
    December 4, 2007

    Why do they LIE so often and deliberately?

    Please?

  22. #22 Brandon
    December 4, 2007

    Speaking of engaging creationists, I’ve been wondering if anyone has ever set them to task defining what a species is. If some god created all species independently, then it should be a pretty simple task to make an all-inclusive definition of a species. Has anyone ever asked a creationist to do this? I don’t get the chance very often over here in The Netherlands…

  23. #23 Skemono
    December 4, 2007

    Why do they LIE so often and deliberately?

    Because reality has a well-known liberal bias. Duh.

  24. #24 craig
    December 4, 2007

    “Why do they LIE so often and deliberately?”

    For God.

  25. #25 craig
    December 4, 2007

    And about the “a child can understand it” bit…

    Let me get this straight – life is so complex, so incredibly complex that evolution can’t be right, the only correct explanation for this “irreducibly complex” phenomenon has to be so simple a child can understand it.

    OK, gotcha.

  26. #26 Incertus (Brian)
    December 4, 2007

    I’ve gotten so sick of Ben Stein that I can’t even watch Ferris Bueller anymore.

  27. #27 tinyfrog
    December 4, 2007

    Did anyone else notice the graphic at the beginning of the segment? It said, “Circle of Life” and showed a circle with arrows pointing in this order: “Marriage” -> “Porn” -> “Adultery” -> “Divorce” -> (and back to “Marriage”).

    As for the segment itself — what a joke. “Darwinism hasn’t progressed since Darwin”? It’s a celebration of ignorance and wishful thinking.

  28. #28 DiscordianStooge
    December 4, 2007

    Nothing better than a guy selling his own book by saying that it has “this much” less wisdom than thew bible. And leaving the cover up on the screen through a whole segment (does he leave it up for the whole show?). Stephen Colbert’s career is done, because he can’t parody these guys more than they do themselves. Even Stein thought Beck was a parody.

    Do children understand how a car drives? How computers work? The 2nd law of Thermodynamics? Apparently all three of those are BS.

  29. #29 idlemind
    December 4, 2007

    Actually, children can “get” natural selection just fine. It’s adults who have a harder time if it conflicts with their carefully-incubated world view.

  30. #30 Ross Nixon
    December 4, 2007

    Stein could be thinking of many other evolutionists who refuse to debate creationists anymore.

  31. #31 Ced
    December 4, 2007

    I always think there’s no way people can be so stupid, but regularly I see examples like this and have to lower my standard. Wow. They have really no idea what they’re talking about.

  32. #32 wobert
    December 4, 2007

    Is it just me or did anyone else get the impression they were watching an interview with Inspector Clouseau?

  33. #33 goatmilton
    December 4, 2007

    Where were the arguments from the opposite position?! Are there many such unbiased and balanced programs and/or channels in America?!

    I think we should all stand back, light your pipe, have a cup of tea and watch the BBC.

  34. #34 Sigmund
    December 4, 2007

    I’ve given up trying to argue scientifically with creationists. Its like trying to explain calculus to a hamster, they continue to run around in circles whatever you say but are incapable of understanding a thing you say.
    Science is not done by debate. We scientists carry out experiments to test a particular hypothesis and then publish our results in peer reviewed journals.
    I don’t know of a single scientist who has said they would prevent creationists/intelligent designer proponents from doing exactly the same thing.
    This is all they need to do to join in with the scientific dialogue.
    That they refuse to do so is their decision alone.
    Since we presently cannot debate them on scientific grounds we must approach the major Achilles heel of their position – that of false dichotomy. We must on every possible occasion make it clear that creationism/intelligent design is only one of literally thousands of competing non-evidence based theories compared to one theory that is based on evidence. I think most reasonable members of the public will realize that there must be some basic criterion upon which to decide what to teach in science class and if intelligent design has as many published peer reviewed studies as the tooth fairy theory then it might not be such an obvious alternative to the theory of evolution.
    By the way lets use religious sensitivities to our own advantage and call intelligent design for what it really is – protestant creationism.

  35. #35 raven
    December 4, 2007

    Science has been blowing creationism out of the water for 150 years.

    Ben Stein is a dishonest moron. What do you expect from Nixon’s speechwriter?

    If some god created all species independently, then it should be a pretty simple task to make an all-inclusive definition of a species. Has anyone ever asked a creationist to do this?

    Waste of time. These people lie constantly and are uneducated religious fanatics. If you have an internet connection, they have many of their own websites.

  36. #36 Kevin Murphy
    December 4, 2007

    Ben Stein is an idiot.

    But I don’t know how life began.

    I’d like to see the science answer please.

  37. #37 Ross Nixon
    December 4, 2007

    Science has no idea how life began, and never will.
    You are entering the world of hypothesis, fantasy and pseudoscience once you enter the misty realm of abiogenesis.

  38. #38 Kevin Murphy
    December 4, 2007

    No, Ross Nixon, surely science has a better answer than that.

    Even if it’s not conclusive.

    Gimme some links, at least.

  39. #39 Kcanadensis
    December 4, 2007

    I want to mention that upon checking my Gmail this morning, I noticed the ad at the top of the page was for “Expelled”. I was *eating* just now. Ugh.

    Anyway, it’s great how they just let him make these claims without having someone there to argue with. Just like the movie. And the target audience will just eat it up.

  40. #40 raven
    December 4, 2007

    Ben Stein is an idiot.

    But I don’t know how life began.

    I’d like to see the science answer please.

    Sounds like a creo troll. Abiogenesis is a different theory from evolution. One is life from nonlife, the other is the change of life through time.

    The answer to how life began. We don’t know much about it. Science doesn’t know everything. This is a good thing, it we did, all scientists would be unemployed.

    The difference between science and religion. Science can and will find the answers someday. The history of science has been that what problems it addresses are eventually solved. This is why we live in the space age instead of caves.

    A religious fanatic says, “goddidit”, the universal reply about anything. Then they schism over what exactly goddidit means and massacre each other.

  41. #41 Sigmund
    December 4, 2007

    Kevin, I recommend you read ‘Genesis’ (no, not THAT one!) by Robert Hazen. The question of the origin of life on earth is a problem for geochemistry. The current consensus is that cellular life (as we know it – DNA, RNA and Proteins) was not the original replicating entity on earth. Catalytic RNA can perform many of the functions of catalytic proteins and is probably ancestral to proteins themselves – this is the basis of the ‘RNA world’ hypothesis. Once you have the RNA world the rest is pretty much straight forward biological evolution. The big question is what geochemical processes led to the establishment of this RNA world.
    Work that out and you’ll have a nobel prize in chemistry.

  42. #42 Kevin Murphy
    December 4, 2007

    Thanks Sigmund. I’ve ordered the book you suggested. Thanks.

  43. #43 katie
    December 4, 2007

    “Darwin said nothing about how life originated, Darwin knew nothing about how complicated the cell was…” I actually kinda agreed with him for a bit there…up until “there hasn’t been much progress since.”

    Um…maybe that’s where Ben Stein’s education stopped? I found it hilarious that he listed all this stuff that Darwin didn’t know about…then said there was no progress since. I also find “no intelligence allowed” mirth-inducing: no kidding.

  44. #44 jeh
    December 4, 2007

    Dumb and dumber.

  45. #45 JRS
    December 4, 2007

    I watched that show once, because I didn’t know anything about it and someone I worked with told me I should. It was enough to make me dismiss the entire mess. I have better things to do.

    This show is nothing but angry, racist, uber-conservative commentary. I can’t help but wonder what the rest of the world thinks when they see this coming from one of America’s ‘finest’ news networks.

  46. #46 Sigmund
    December 4, 2007

    JRS said
    “I can’t help but wonder what the rest of the world thinks when they see this coming from one of America’s ‘finest’ news networks”
    The CNN that Europeans get to see is not the same as the US version. Most of us get a bit of a shock when we see how different the two versions are (the US CNN is much more downmarket and right wing).

  47. #47 Louis
    December 4, 2007

    The problem with debating denialists of any sort (from Holocaust to Climate Change to Creationists) is that it grants them significance for their asinine nonsensical jibber jabber that they do not deserve.

    The problem with not debating denialists of any sort is it leaves them free to run aorund lying like the ambulatory sacks of shit they are.

    It’s a toughie.

    Louis

  48. #48 Ed Darrell
    December 4, 2007

    I saw some odd note that Beck is a Mormon — it’s a common Mormon name, and it wouldn’t surprise me (I’ve never seen the guy on TV or anywhere else I know).

    Shouldn’t somebody clue him in? Mormons are not opposed to evolution. Should Ben Stein attack the biology department at Brigham Young U so?

  49. #49 charley
    December 4, 2007

    #46- “The CNN that Europeans get to see is not the same as the US version. Most of us get a bit of a shock when we see how different the two versions are (the US CNN is much more downmarket and right wing).”

    I guess the executives of powerful news networks like FOX and CNN have concluded that the most desirable and probably largest market segment in the US is dumb conservatives. They correctly believe that their most lucrative strategy is to provide programming that reinforces the views and attitudes of this market. It’s in their best interest to perpetuate to status quo, and they may have the power to do so.

    Seriously, how can we begin to address this predicament? Or am I wrong about my conclusions?

  50. #50 Kevin Murphy
    December 4, 2007

    I think neo-Darwinian evolution is the best explanation of how we all got here, after life started.

    But could somebody please give me some URLs for pages that explain how life on Earth started. I’ve not been able to find any.

  51. #51 daenku32
    December 4, 2007

    I think Ben Stein speaks the way he does because he has shit stuck up his nostrils from all the time he spends keeping his head up his ass.

  52. #52 Cuttlefish, OM
    December 4, 2007

    They keep on suggesting we show them both sides
    Both science, and that which the bible provides;
    I marvel that people without a lobotomy
    Can argue, straight-faced, this fallacious dichotomy
    (If it’s not Central Park, it’s the Panama Isthmus;
    Or if not the Fourth of July, then it’s Christmas!)
    And this is just one of their myriad flaws–
    Why, the breadth of their ignorance gives a man pause.
    And the answers are out there, for anyone trying!
    It’s almost–perhaps–just a bit–like they’re lying!

  53. #53 Pablo
    December 4, 2007

    I know I’m preaching to to choir, here, but here it goes…

    I’m a working scientist, and have been for about 15 years now. In that time, I have never had a “stand up, point-by-point” debate over anything. I’ve never seen one, either. Basically, that’s not how science works.

    That doesn’t mean I haven’t seen contentious issues. I have seen scientists give opposing presentations (even in back to back talks), but there was no moderator, and no audience voting for who did better. No, the actual debates occur in the literature, and that’s where things get sorted out.

    So complaints that “evolutionists won’t debate creationists” are completely irrelevant when talking about the scientific process. I have said it many times, many ways: if IDiots want to be considered scientists, then they have to play by scientists’ rules. They have to work the way scientists work, and do the things scientists do. They can’t go about redefining the groundrules for what it means to be scientific.

    If IDiots want to be scientists, come to scientific meetings. Publish in the scientific literature. Make new discoveries about how nature works. These are the things that scientists do. Don’t come at me with stupid public debates. That’s not how science works.

    BTW, I tried to teach a 5 year old about complex analysis once. He couldn’t grasp it. I guess that means that complex analysis is flawed.

  54. #54 Caveat
    December 4, 2007

    Stein can’t read Pharyngula – it’s all science-y and stuff. It might open his mind and close his mouth.

    Anyway he already knows everything – except that the burden of proof lies with the bible thumpers.

    If this god they espouse existed, I suspect that this project, earth, would be in the cupboard gathering dust. Manitou, or whomever, probably having a lot more fun with later versions where problems with functionality and friction have been solved.

    This is the soap-box racer – later versions are the Corvettes.

  55. #55 Robert Ward
    December 4, 2007

    Darwin didn’t know about the complexity of the cell therefore Evolution is wrong. That is interesting logic. OR, it’s called scientific progress, which has built upon Darwin’s original theory because of what we know now. Hmm.

    Well, I have work to do, of course most of that work involves being brainwashed by my liberal, godless, socialist professors. Because that is all that happens on college and university campuses, it’s not learning it’s INDOCTRINATION! Does he mean the way churches and private high schools indoctrinate children? No, of course not, that is education, apparently.

  56. #56 Sunny
    December 4, 2007

    Of course complex analysis is flawed :D Real analysis is where it’s at.

  57. #57 firemancarl
    December 4, 2007

    The smartest thing Ben said was, and maybe it’s an admission “I don’t know, I am not a scientist. The evolutionists could be right.”

    I am surprised Becks head didn’t explode.

  58. #58 Thom Denick
    December 4, 2007

    @#50

    Although I doubt anyone using the term “Neo-Darwinism” is sincere in their requests. To further disprove Stein’s assertions that no one engages Creationists in debate I point you to the tremendous wealth of abiogensis knowledge at Talk Origins. I sincerely doubt any questions you have that are related to the science as it currently stands on the topic will remain unanswered.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/

  59. #59 Brian
    December 4, 2007

    Can someone tell me where the “established church of Darwinism” is?

    Also…what is “darwinism”? This makes my head spin.

  60. #60 N 'Man O'Rage' R
    December 4, 2007

    PZ, You have to see this one!!

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/faq/dont_use.asp

    Beautiful leaps of faith twined with logic!!

    My favorite was the explanation for 2nd law of thermodynamics:

    “Another is friction, which turns ordered mechanical energy into disordered heat–otherwise Adam and Eve would have slipped as they walked with God in Eden!”

    LOL

  61. #61 Jonathan
    December 4, 2007

    Was it just me, or did he say “Evolution [sic] struck a mud puddle, and out of that mud puddle came a fully-equipped Boeing 747?”

    So, for those keeping score, that’s one part misstatement, one part misunderstanding of both evolution and abiogenesis, and one part bad metaphor. ‘Cause, you know, a Boeing 747 is irreducibly complex. If you took out the first-class seats, and the oxygen masks, and the little 6-ounce cups with the airline’s logo on them, the 747 simply wouldn’t fly.

  62. #62 Chuck
    December 4, 2007

    See, I saw this:

    Glenn Beck + Ben Stein.

    And all I could think was, “If evolution is true, how come we still have GLENN BECK + BEN STEIN???”

  63. #63 Robert Ward
    December 4, 2007

    BUT there are no transitionals from the Wright Brothers’ flyer to the Boeing 747, I mean we don’t see a half Wright Brothers’ flyer half 747, and I am certain that a Boeing 727 has EVER given birth to a 747.

    This is about the logic they use, no?

  64. #64 negentropyeater
    December 4, 2007

    Prof. XYZ, of university xyz, one of the world’s most distinguished specialists in the field of Abiogenesis declared yesterday :

    “I have seen this interview and I believe Dr B. Stein is correct and that all attempt at transforming mud puddles into boeing 747 by lightning strikes have failed. After so many years, we have not been able to find a satisfactory theory to explain how inert matter transformed into the first live organisms on earth. I therefore solemny declare that this is clear evidence of the work of an intelligent designer. I will propose to all my distinguished coleagues that they therefore stop working in this field, which has no hope of leading to any future succesful results. Moreover, despite the fact that this field has nothing to do with the Theory of Evolution, I propose that all Biologists solemny declare it dead and start taking crash courses in the thorough and fully developped alternative, the theory of Intelligent Design, which has found a much more powerful and fully developped theory to explain the diversity of life on earth. I will now hand over to Prof. ZYX who will explain the theory.”

    Prof. ZYX : ” An intelligent designer sent to this planet a number of fundamental species N , T years ago. N and T follow what I propose to call, in his honour the Behe equation :
    N = K Log T, where K is what will be called Dembski’s constant which has to be experimentally determined. Preliminary results using T = 6060 years would seem to indicate that N is very close to 947.
    All living creatures currently on earth evolved via micro evolution from the fundamental species.”

    In an unprecedent move, Pres. Bush declared today that he intends to pass a Bill outlawing any future funding to research that is not compatible with Prof. ZYX’ theory.

    The pope declared also today that this was a very forward looking theory and it will be checked if the number 947 is compatible with the holy scriptures.

    Rev. XXX declared also today that he thinks there is something very miraculous about this newly discovered magical number, as it mysteriously matches the number of pages in the holy bible. The reasons are not fully understood, but this would be a confirmation of the theory as well as would prove once and for all that the intelligent dsigner had something to do with the holy scriptures.

    The Nobel commitee is working towards a special prize which will be awarded to Dr. B. Stein and Prof. ZYX, for their outstanding achievements in the progress of the field of Intelligent Design.

    Dr. YYY, one of the pioneers in retroviral research said that he has great hopes that this new powerful model will soon help in finding a vaccine for AIDS. He is convinced that the Behe equation will lead to new fundamental medical discoveries.

    In an rather surprising move, Prof PZ Myers, declared that he had now a lot of free time to go fishing.

  65. #65 June
    December 4, 2007

    Here’s how to teach a child about Natural Selection:

    Make two batches of cookie batter.
    Put salt in one half, sugar in the other.
    Bake and serve on two plates.

    Watch which plate is emptied and which stays full.

  66. #66 Kseniya
    December 4, 2007

    “Science has no idea how life began, and never will.”

    Ross Nixon never fails to disappoint! (And Heaven forbid that scientists enter the misty world of “hypothesis” when discussing abiogenesis.)

    Kevin Murphy, by contrast, seeks knowledge. I see no creotroll here. ;-)

  67. #67 Glen D
    December 4, 2007

    This is exactly what we all do over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

    Yeah, but you say mean things about ignorance, stupidity, and lies. How does that promote the self-esteem of the ignorant, the stupid, and the liars? Huh?

    Stein and Beck just want a little respect, you know, and a whole lot of authoritah!

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  68. #68 zer0
    December 4, 2007

    I rather liked how Dawkins explained the possible origin of life in his book The Blind Watchmaker. All you really need for Natural Selection and Evolution as we know it to get its start is a self-replicating molecule. A quick search on google popped up this paper and while it may not be 100% proof of “how it went down” it is enough for this lay person to know that it is a definite possibility.

    After that, you’ll have Dembski with his 5 dice, rolling them rather nonchalantly saying the odds of it happening are astronomical blah blah blah goddidit etc. The odds don’t matter, because we’re here. It already happened. I’m just fine with that.

    Something that really helped me come to terms with all the “impossible odds” crap that IDists blather on about is a talk given by Richard Dawkins you can watch here that proposes that man has evolved in what he terms middle-world and it is completely natural that it is hard for us to grasp the sheer size and timescales of the Universe.

    In comparison, when you watch videos like this you actually feel dumber for listening to it. I am in awe of the intellect that Dawkins commands, the determination of Myers, and the knowledge of scriptures that Hitchens brings to the table.

  69. #69 danley
    December 4, 2007

    To Kevin Murphy: Bensteindidit.

  70. #70 raindogzilla
    December 4, 2007

    Kristine, I believe Ben Stein was sucking on a mint to mask his transubstantiation and booze breath. This impeded his speech. That, or the Visine spokesman is also a Visine user…cough, cough.

  71. #71 H. Humbert
    December 4, 2007

    Kevin Murphy, believe it or not Wikipedia offers a fairly comprehensive summary if you’re looking for an overview of the basics, plus links to other material.

    Abiogenesis:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

    RNA World Hypothesis:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RNA_world_hypothesis

  72. #72 H. Humbert
    December 4, 2007

    Pablo, good point. Scientists debate creationists all the time, only they do so in the much more effective print medium, rather than the theatrical and error-favorable live audience format.

  73. #73 Pablo
    December 4, 2007

    “Pablo, good point. Scientists debate creationists all the time,”

    I wouldn’t necessarily say that. I would say they are WILLING to debate creationists all the time, but, unfortunately, creationists don’t show up.

  74. #74 Kristine
    December 4, 2007

    Just a thought: In light of the dramatic claims Stein makes about one’s fate if one even views this film, I wonder how Ben Stein would feel is someone got an advanced copy, made a whole bunch of duplications, and distributed it widely so that “you can view this free and in the safety of your home, away from the Darwinian spies.” My guess is that he wouldn’t be too happy – but I’d love to see him explain on television why making money is more important than his urgent “message.”

  75. #75 danley
    December 4, 2007

    “They (evilutionists) have an answer that wouldn’t make sense to a small child.” True. That is why morons use an answer that *would* make sense to a small child. A fat- fairy farted the world into being through his majestic ass.

  76. #76 Rey Fox
    December 4, 2007

    “Why do they LIE so often and deliberately?”

    Ask Goebbels.

  77. #77 doyle
    December 4, 2007

    I am not making this up. Ben Stein is currently hosting a reality show called America’s Most Smartest Model on VH1. He sits behind a podium on which is written “Survival of the Fittest.”

  78. #78 jcchurch
    December 4, 2007

    The gods of YouTube prevented me from watching this movie. Thanks be to the gods of YouTube.

  79. #79 Beth
    December 4, 2007

    I’m still crossing my fingers that we’re all just being Punk’d for the free publicity. Because nobody can be this dense, can they?

  80. #80 drcrash
    December 4, 2007

    Kevin,

    You might want to check out Stuart Kauffman’s book _At_Home_in_the_Universe_ for an accessible version of the “metabolism first” idea about abiogenesis.

    Briefishly, the basic idea is that you don’t need genes to have metabolism. You can have an “autocatalytic set” of chemicals in a solution that create a cycle where each catalyzes the construction of the next chemical in the cycle. (And maybe inhibits reactions that destroy other elements of the cycle, etc.)

    Given a stew of a bunch of chemicals, the more chemicals you have, the more likely it is that there is SOME self-reinforcing cycle of catalysis, and you end up with SOME self-sustaining multi-step chemical reaction to start things off.

    Unlike the creation of a single complex master replicating molecule, no extremely rare event has to happen. The metabolic goo can “reproduce” without genes simply by growing and splitting, and can evolve as new chemicals are incorporated into the cycle or old ones are dropped out. You get a simplified version of natural selection without genes, and chemicals that start out as peers in a mutually-supporting chemical regulatory network can evolve gradually to be more gene-like. (Or the metabolic goo may be invaded by another chemical that takes advantage of the relatively stable chemical environment, and exploits it to promote itself.)

    Woo warning: Chapter 1 kinda sucks and sounds like warm fuzzy new ageish pap. Don’t let that put you off; it’s just a hook for people who are afraid of scary cold science. The rest of the book is good.

  81. #81 Science Goddess
    December 4, 2007

    What a maroon!

    Correction:

    What maroons!

    SG

  82. #82 mayhempix
    December 4, 2007

    John “SteinBeck” must be rolling over in his grave…

    Glenn Beck, just like Rush Limbaugh, knows exactly what he is doing. They are not true believers, they are true deceivers who are into the money and have adopted the role of the righteous everyman that speaks the simple self-evident wingnut truth. Beck even refers to himself as “just another clown”. And I’m sure the irony is not lost on him.

    If there was a hell, these guys would fry first class.

    Stein is an obvious dupe… another Jew as Rapture fodder.

  83. #83 Kristine
    December 4, 2007

    Oh, my flipping evolution – now Ben Stein is claiming that Goldman Sachs is some kind of KGB-esque conspiracy. Goldman Sachs. Ben Stein is out of his flipping mind!

    And he keeps talking about capital, then referring to reserves. Doesn’t he know the difference between reserves and capital? How does somebody this flipping stupid merit a column in the New York Times?

    Ben Bernanke . Ben Bernanke! Well, now you know it’s a conspiracy!

    My question is this: Is this all one conspiracy or many? If many, will the rival conspirators first have to battle each other before the winner goes after the eminent Ben Stein? This is beginning to look like a form of natural selection. Well, whatever it is, remember that it just proves creationism!
    *leans head into hand*

  84. #84 MorpheusPA
    December 4, 2007

    Kevin Murphy, by contrast, seeks knowledge. I see no creotroll here. ;-)

    Nor I. :-) If it’s any consolation, I’m a mostly lurker who is going to order the book and read the Abiogenesis FAQ.

    Even pearls cast before swine may occasionally be picked up by those of us who are a little less porcine. Not much, perhaps, but I’m trying.

  85. #85 Mitchell Morris
    December 4, 2007

    I am officially offended by Stien and Beck. I’m super offended at Beck.

    “make sure she is armed against the professes”

    See, im a PhD student at Columbia University and an executive member of the Columbia Atheists & Agnostics. The gaul of that man.

  86. #86 stogoe
    December 4, 2007

    That, or the Visine spokesman is also a Visine user…cough, cough.

    “I’m not just the spokesperson, I’m also a member!”

    No one watches Glenn Beck’s shitty show. He’s just collecting Wingnut Welfare at this point.

  87. #87 Jesse
    December 4, 2007

    Stein & Beck.

    It’s like the Perfect Storm of Stupid.

    One is a former alcoholic and drug addict that is a born-again Mormon and announced- on air- that the world was going to end in September.

    The other is a right wing nutjob with no science background at all trying to make lying about science education a rallying cry for conservatives.

  88. #88 Helioprogenus
    December 4, 2007

    People take these two idiots seriously? Ben Stein is presented as this intelligent guy who can defeat most people in a specifically formatted game show. Yet, when he talks, shit comes out of his mouth. What an idiot, saying he’s not a scientist, but continuing his ignorant facade. Well, if you’re not a scientist, then shut the fuck up, who wants to hear this asshead spew complete bullshit. All that time he studied political science should perhaps have been better spent reading a few actual scientific books on biology, evolution, and origins of life. I thought it was sadly funny when he mentions that a spark creates a fully functioning cell (probably assuming all single cells are eukaryotic and alike). So after all the evidence we have collected proving evolution through natural selection, we’re supposed to throw it all away because Ben Stein, that stupid motherfucker thinks just because we can’t explain the first few steps, it must be some god’s work? I bet it’s not just any run-of-the-mill god, but his indoctrinated version of god. The worst part is that people actually watch these blowhard morons and sink deeper into the hole of ignorance. How is this guy different then the islamic extremists? They both aim to establish a theocracy, and their only disagreement is who’s imaginary figure (supposedly the same on paper)is more powerful. Are these fuckers really still in second grade?

  89. #89 Scott Hatfield, OM
    December 4, 2007

    No forgiveness required.

  90. #90 wrpd
    December 4, 2007

    Beck is a former alcoholic–different from a recovering alcoholic–who was having marital troubles until he joined the LDS church fairly recently. There is an interview with him talking about this on YouTube. Beck starts to cry when he describes how warm the church felt. Made me want to puke.

  91. #91 wrpd
    December 4, 2007

    Here is the link to the Glenn Beck YouTube interview. http://youtube.com/watch?v=wKtAPT9KEfM. I forgot I could do this. Ben and Glenn have that effect on me.

  92. #92 bilard
    December 4, 2007

    You have very interesting site.Thanks for all.

  93. #93 Kyle Huff
    December 4, 2007

    The level of discourse in the comments is discouraging.
    I don’t follow the ID nonsense, and am not involved in a field that’s directly affected by the emergence of the new religious-right as a political power bloc.
    You may all be assuming that Stein is somehow trying to push for ID to be taught as a viable alternative formulation for the origin of species (ha!), but if you assume that this is not the case, the interview looks very different.
    The comments section adds a delicious irony.

  94. #94 Glen Davidson
    December 4, 2007

    You may all be assuming that Stein is somehow trying to push for ID to be taught as a viable alternative formulation for the origin of species (ha!), but if you assume that this is not the case, the interview looks very different.

    Are you really Sherri Shepherd? You seem so, well, stupid.

    We know that Ben is too damn ignorant to do much more than follow the script fed to him by your liars. Your liars aren’t even able to be consistent, while Ben is simply ranting about Nazis, “suppression,” and lightning hitting mud. You’re not quite at that level, but apparently you’ll ape the line being fed to you, that’s it’s all about “freedom” or some other euphemism for forcing your ignorance onto science and the public.

    Anyhow, this isn’t really for you (but there are lurkers more intelligent than you–halfwits included), because you’re too stupid even to comprehend what we did say–which is not your cock-and-bull script coming straight out of the mouths of your preferred liars.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  95. #95 RamblinDude
    December 4, 2007

    Now wait a minute, maybe Ben Stein actually is… … on our side!!

    He just can’t be that sadsack-befuddled-nave-clueless. No. it’s too much like his acting, too much I tells ya! He’s…he’s… actually a clever strategist who wants to promote science and is sacrificing himself for the cause! Yeah, that’s it!

    See, when the movie comes out a train of events will take place that will showcase for the whole world to see, in no uncertain terms, how wrong and stupid creation/ID is.

    Maybe he has a…a…terminal illness and he wants to do some good before he dies. Or he wants to give up acting/gameshow circuit and be a teacher but those damn religious people are getting in his way. Ya, see? There are lots and lots of reasons to explain why he’s behaving like such a jaw dropping, dimwitted, goofy slow Gus…lots of reasons! hey, maybe….

  96. #96 Kseniya
    December 4, 2007

    *gasp*

    Are you saying that if we look up “Devil’s Advocate” in the dictionary, we see a picture of Ben Stein?

    Bless him, then! Bless his selfless little soul!

  97. #97 -
    December 5, 2007

    In the words of Lawanda Page, “Soon as that camera goes off, he’s gonna fuck that little dog.”

  98. #98 Escuerd
    December 5, 2007

    It’s interesting, but I never knew until recently that Ben Stein was quite this stupid.

    “It’s a BS answer; it’s an answer that wouldn’t make sense to a small child.”

    Oh dear, what a criterion. I am afraid to ask what this man thinks of special and general relativity and quantum mechanics.

    Of course, he seems to think that evolution requires an explanation of how life originated, or that one must have a well-established explanation to reject a silly one.

    The comment that we should “let the other guy talk and then blow him out of the water” is frankly insulting to anyone who has spent a little time talking to cdesign proponentsists. They make their views known all the time, and however much others explain what they don’t know, they just keep repeating it.

    Insofar as creationism makes testable predictions (which isn’t very far with its latest incarnation) it ought to be considered (and has been), but once the claims have been refuted time and again (as they have), it’s time to let it go. When it fails to make predictions altogether (as the trend has been lately) there’s no science there at all. Why do so many people conflate logical possibilities with reasonably probable possibilities or even scientific theories?

  99. #99 Kris Verburgh
    December 5, 2007

    The brilliant Ben Stein about evolution: ‘And there hasn’t been much progress since Darwin’. And then he rambles on about science and evolution and the origin of life like a total nitwit. How is it that such a bonehead can appear on national television?

  100. #100 Frothy
    December 6, 2007

    Ben Stein’s creationism crackpottery is an irrelevant sideshow.

    On the other hand, his crackpottery on the national housing and credit bubbles are causing belly laughs from the likes of:

    Paul Krugman: “Maybe I don’t have what it takes to be a serious columnist. I mean, it would never have occurred to me to suggest that the only way to explain an economic forecast I don’t agree with is to say that it must be part of an evil plot to drive down the market”

    Seeking Alpha: “Stein sort of reminds me of George Gilder” [ha!]

    Dealbreaker: “Ben Stein['s column is] getting roundly trounced by most commentators.”

    Dean Baker: “Stein gives no reason whatsoever to doubt that Hatzius wrote a serious analysis of the current state of the U.S. economy”

    And on and on and on.

    I’ve said it here before: Ben Stein is a discredited, talentless hack and an ignorant fool. If you think you’re upset about an irrelevant creationist movie, imagine how you’d feel if you followed Ben Stein’s disastrous financial advice. (For example, buy MER just weeks before they wrote down $5 billion dollars in subprime losses and fired their CEO.) Anyone who listens to Stein is worse, and worse off.

    Bizarrely, Stein’s wholly undeserved reputation is for his financial savvy, not his scientific credentials. Make sure you lay out what a discredited crackpot he is in both arenas.

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