Monday, January 14, 2013

#373: Ben Stein

A.k.a. BS

Ben Stein, former speechwriter for Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, used to be famous for his role as the teacher (decidedly out of character) in Ferris Bueller's Day Off and for being a particularly dim neo-conservative, despite degrees in economics and law, from Columbia and Yale, respectively. He is currently most famous for starring in the denialist pseudo-documentary Expelled (also here), for writing a weekly column in the New York Times (he was eventually booted for violating their ethics policy), and for being a less than classy rape apologist. His track record with respect to predicting economic developments is sufficiently out of touch with reality (who would’ve guessed) to originate the term “Ben Steinery”.

He is, as already mentioned, a notable opponent of science: “When we just saw [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 … that was horrifying beyond words, and that’s where science — in my opinion, this is just an opinion — that’s where science leads you […] Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people.”

The comment sheds some light on his promotion of Intelligent Design Creationism, and his claim that real science is being kept out of universities because of an anti-God conspiracy among biologists. His critical thinking skills, in light of Expelled, are documented here.

Diagnosis: Unable to get absolutely anything right, Stein is a good example of how far sheer incompetency and fail can take you in the US. Total hack.


  1. A good addition to the Encyclopedia. I have to give Stein a small bit of credit though, because it was the uproar over Expelled that brought the Intelligent Design Creationism movement to my attention (and many others). I've been lending my support against this stupidity ever since.

  2. Another good resource on the Ben Stein "controversy" here.

  3. And don't forget Expelled Exposed:

  4. BS suggests ending poverty by abolishing the separation between church and state. Not only is the idea ... curious; somehow one gets the feeling that BS doesn't really care about poverty; he cares about abolishing the church-state separation. One reason to think so may be his belief that the poor are lazy and the rich are selfless.

  5. Considering that Stein is, at least nominally, Jewish, that would not seem to rebound to his benefit.

  6. I liked Ben Stein better when he had his game-show, WIN BEN STEIN'S MONEY on the Comedy Channel - at least, he introduced Jimmy Kimmel to the world.
    EXPELLED was a bit of Hackery, but his point that Darwinistic principles of natural selection led to policies of Social Darwinism and Eugenics is not a new one. There have been other articles, books and TV shows that document science's, or better yet, psuedo-science's role in Nazi Movement and the policy of forced sterilization of mentally ill or mentally deficient patients.