Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The evolution of language, with Ben Stein

Woo, looks like we found the transitional fossil which will come to be regarded in future as evidence of the macro-evolution of the phrase 'pro-science' from meaning 'in favour of science' to 'in favour of repeatedly pissing off scientists by trying to force them to entertain your vague ideas about how God probably did it'. It was recently announced that the zealous Intelligent Design proponent and producer of 'Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed' Ben Stein would be giving a speech at the University of Vermont. This caused a bit of a stir, what with Stein having spent 2008 making a decent case to be crowned Laughable Moron Of The Year. Stein, slightly peeved that scientists keep on mocking his adherence to an untestable anti-theory with no evidence, has gone on the defensive and assured everyone that maaaaan, he's ALL about the science up in this bitch:

“I am far more pro-science than the Darwinists,” Stein said later in an e-mail. “I want all scientific inquiry to happen — not just what the ruling clique calls science.”
Stein's passionate declaration of love for science may come as a bit of a surprise to those of you who may remember him from such quotes as this one last year:

Stein: When we just saw that man, I think it was Mr. Myers [i.e. biologist P.Z. 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.

Crouch: That’s right.

Stein: …Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people.
Not sure about you, but I personally tend not to describe myself as 'pro' things which I believe were responsible for the Holocaust. "Hey, the Holocaust was your fault!" isn't normally seen as a compliment, but I suppose it would make an interesting chat-up line. Maybe that's where I went wrong in my teens.

The problem, of course, is Stein's somewhat shaky grasp of science, which he seems to think shouldn't favour one theory over another just because, say, one theory is backed by multiple lines of converging evidence from numerous scientific disciplines and has yet to be adequately falsified, and the other is a bunch of poorly-evidenced arguments which doesn't even offer a hypothetical mechanism for any of the things it's claiming other than magic. Stein seems continually surprised that Big Science isn't taking Intelligent Design seriously or allowing it to be taught alongside real science in schools, just because it, like, can't be tested. It seems science nerds are quite big on this whole 'testing' thing when it comes to theories, and Stein understandably finds that restrictive when trying to get his idea treated as science. Why not therefore just redefine science?

I have a similar complaint about how the mysterious cabal of Big Football keeps running scared of my ideas. I'm sick of seeing the stuffy elitists at Manchester United continually refusing to let me express my footballing talents on their pitch. Sure, there's an argument for sticking with Rooney, Berbatov and Tevez up front, they're all decent players in the traditional way I guess, but I think society would be better off if people got a chance to see my alternative approach. Just because I'm fat and unfit and haven't properly kicked a football in a decade doesn't mean I don't have anything to offer the game, you fucking Nazis. You've got a generation of kids now growing up thinking that football is all about who's got the most skill or scores the best goals, and I think it's about time we shook up this outdated paradigm and let the world see me wheezing and falling over and getting caught offside all the time. I want all football to happen — not just what the ruling clique calls football. Plus I'd be willing to do it for half what Ronaldo earns in a week.

1 comment:

  1. That's a funny analogy, made me laugh. Cheers.