Stranger Fruit

Dawkins on Stein

Dawkins on Ben Stein:

The narrator is somebody called Ben Stein. I had not heard of him, but apparently he is well known to Americans, for it is hard to see why else he would have been chosen to front the film. He certainly can’t have been chosen for his knowledge of science, nor his powers of logical reasoning, nor his box office appeal (heavens, no), and his speaking voice is an irritating, nasal drawl, innocent of charm and of consonants. I suppose that makes it a good voice for conveying the whingeing paranoia that I referred to, so maybe that was qualification enough.

Read more of Dawkins’ review of Expelled here.


  1. #1 Lassi Hippeläinen
    March 24, 2008

    This is the line I liked most:

    “If we look at more recent history, the closest representatives you’ll find to Darwinian politics are uncompassionate conservatives like Margaret Thatcher, George W Bush, or Ben Stein’s own hero, Richard Nixon.”

    IDiots are Darwinists 🙂

  2. #2 Matthew C. Nisbet
    March 28, 2008

    I’ve informally focused grouped the clip with college students in two states now. College students like Ben Stein and are most familiar with him from Comedy Central. In the Dawkins-PZ clip from Expelled, as soon as students hear Stein’s voice come on they immediately start to chuckle positively.

    Of course that positive affect for Stein turns to a very negative emotional reaction towards scientists when they hear Dawkins and PZ discuss how science killed off their faith and compare religion to knitting.

    From Dawkins’ frame of reference, Stein’s voice is an “irritating, nasal drawl, innocent of charm and of consonants.” From the movie’s target demographic frame of reference, his manner is funny and entertaining.

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