Scientific American Horrified that Ben Stein Blames Darwin for the Holocuast

I am a bit miffed myself... Stein is a kook.

Ben Stein's Expelled: No Integrity Displayed: A shameful antievolution film tries to blame Darwin for the Holocaust
By John Rennie

Editor's note: This story is part of a series "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed--Scientific American's Take."

In the new science-bashing movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, Ben Stein and the rest of the filmmakers sincerely and seriously argue that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution paved the way for the Holocaust. By "seriously," I mean that Ben Stein acts grief-stricken and the director juxtaposes quotes from evolutionary biologists with archival newsreel clips from Hitler's Reich. Prepare for an intellectual night at the cinema.

...The movie's unreliable reporting is even more obvious during the scene in which Stein interviews Bruce Chapman, the president of the Discovery Institute, the institutional heart of ID advocacy. Stein asks whether the Discovery Institute has supported the teaching of ID in science classes so avidly because it is trying to sneak religion back into public schools. Chapman says no and the film blithely takes him at his word. No mention is made of the notorious "Wedge" document, a leaked Discovery Institute manifesto that outlined a strategy of opposing evolution and turning the public against scientific materialism as the first step toward making society more politically conservative and theistic. Maybe Ben Stein didn't think it was relevant, but wouldn't an honest film have trusted its audience to judge for itself?


Anonymous said...

Rennie flunks with his first sentence:

"In the new science-bashing movie Expelled..."

Expelled is a BAD-science bashing movie. (At least in the viewpoint of its creators.)

John D. Enright said...

Kook or not, he is not the first to make the point that the holocaust resulted from the Nazis' beliefs in Darwinism. See Darwinism and the Nazi Race Holocaust.

Tzvee Zahavy said...

I don't recall seeing any Nazi rally films where the assembled saluted, "Heil Darwin." The notion that they needed any justification to carry out their evil against the Jewish people leads back to the Church and its legacy of antisemitism, not to Darwin. Stein is the leading fuzzball of our times.

John D. Enright said...

I'm astounded that you can be so wrong on so many different issues including politics, history, religion, etc. So you apparently discount the link between Nazi Germany and Darwinism. Are you joking?

Eugenics is a word coined in 1883 by Darwin's cousin, Sir Francis Galton, and the underlying theory thereof relied heavily on Darwin's theory.

Ernst Rüdin, an expert in Eugenics, was one of the fathers of Nazi ideology. In 1933, Ernst Rüdin and several other Eugenics experts formed the Expert Committee on Questions of Population and Racial Policy under Reich Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick. The committee's ideas were used as a scientific basis to justify the racial policy of Nazi Germany. The Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring was passed by the German government on January 1, 1934, and Rüdin was the author of the official commentary for the law.

According to you, "[t]he notion that [the Nazis] needed any justification to carry out their evil against the Jewish people leads back to the Church and its legacy of antisemitism, not to Darwin." You fail to recognize that Christianity, and in particular the Catholic Church, were likewise victimized by Nazi Germany. See Nazi Policy and the Catholic Church by Karol Jozef Gajewski.

Tzvee Zahavy said...

you are confusing the subject of nazi ideology with the subject of the holocaust. nice try, but it doesn't work.

John D. Enright said...

I don't think so, Rabbi. Try reading From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany by Richard Weikart, Ph.D., Professor of Modern European History at California State University, Stanislaus. This is summary of the book as found on the dust jacket: "Weikart concludes that Darwinism played a key role not only in the rise of eugenics, but also in euthanasia, infanticide, abortion, and racial extermination, all ultimately embraced by the Nazis. He convincingly makes the disturbing argument that Hitler built his view of ethics on Darwinian principles rather than nihilistic ones." (He also has a RealMedia video on the web: From Darwin to Hitler which is linked on his website.)

There's no confusion here. Darwinism was used (or actually misused) to justify the Holocaust.

Anonymous said...

At one extreme, the Holocaust is pinned on Darwinism. At the other extreme, they are totally disconnected. I believe the true answer lies in between.

Tzvee Zahavy said...

In fact the Nazis misused every academic discipline to grasp at credibility for their barbaric evil: anthropology, biology, economics, history, sociology, philosophy, usw.

The Stein movie cherry picks its evidence to make a bogus case for ID v. evolution. Such an enterprise is dishonest to its core.

John D. Enright said...

I agree about the misuse of science by the Nazis. I also agree that the Stein movie is a silly attempt to disguise religious belief as hard science. My only point in this whole discussion is limited to the following: Stein says that one of the underlying causes of the Holocaust is Social Darwinism, and I agree. That being said, simply because the Nazis and other ethnic snobs misused the theory doesn't mean that the theory is wrong. I could also say that the "Big Bang Theory" proves that St. Thomas Aquinas was right in Summa Theologicae where he argues that the universe was created at a discrete point in the past from nothingness(Creatio ex nihil.) Of course, that would be entirely silly even if the two seem to converge at first glance.

John D. Enright said...

Oh, I forgot to add this, Rabbi. Calling Nazi atrocities "barbaric evil" is an understatement and possibly defamatory of barbarians everywhere. What the Nazis did was satanic in every sense.

Tzvee Zahavy said...

aren't we now defaming satan?

John D. Enright said...

Ah, I hate to admit it, Rabbi, but you're probably right!

John D. Enright said...

Unless anything else should be said on this subject, I have one more thing to say: Mazal Tov! Touché! You got me!

In all sincerity, I deeply appreciate that you, as a Rabbi, wisely discern the difference between science and religious belief. Although I think that each discipline complements the other, they should not be commingled. As a Catholic, I wish that some of our more orthodox prelates would do the same.

By the way, my defense of barbarians stems from Whitman's Song of Myself where he says:

"The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and my loitering.
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world."

Thank you for an entertaining and enlightening conversation, and you'll surely hear from me again!

Anonymous said...

"Barbaric evil"

I never considered that this expression wasn't strong enough.

Anonymous said...

"The Stein movie cherry picks its evidence to make a bogus case for ID v. evolution. Such an enterprise is dishonest to its core."

Tzvee, what book/movie/article would you recommend that makes a more honest case for the idea that there's a Designer of nature?

Anonymous said...

“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of
man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the
world.... The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will
intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the
Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or
Australian and the gorilla.”

Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871, ch. 6.

[Just so there is no doubt, the author in particular is claiming
that whites will exterminate blacks. True, Darwin said did not want this outcome, but I'm not so sure that matters in the end.]