Monday, December 29, 2008

What's Wrong with Ben Stein

I know - where does one begin? But here's the thing: I actually like Ben Stein, or at least, I did before Expelled (see Roger Ebert's review here). Even if I didn't always agree with his political views, I always found him to be funny, smart, and positive. I'm frankly at sea about why he would have become involved with such a ridiculous project. My personal theory is that there's a pragmatic (one could say Hobbesian) streak among American cultural conservative "realists" (which Stein is too smart not to be) which goes like this: we need a noble myth to make people behave themselves, so it's up to the religious Christians and Jews of America with college degrees to hammer the point home, even if they don't believe it themselves. I can't emphasize it enough: if you're reading an atheist blog, you don't need to learn more logical arguments to disprove gods: what you need is to become politically active, if you aren't already.

Unfortunately, Stein picked an area to get involved where there are heaping mountains of evidence that make him look like a fool for opposing it, and then handled the whole project like a schmendrick to boot. So, Ben, for what it's worth - you lost at least one fan as a result. In the meantime, enjoy this Terry Gilliam meets Jibjab-style rap video featuring the Four Horsemen and special guest PZ Myers (my favorite rendering is Hitch). The video is more nuanced than you might think at first glance - really a parody of the ID sponsors' contention that there's a big conspiracy against creation science.

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