Why Do People Laugh at Ben Stein?


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14 Responses to “Why Do People Laugh at Ben Stein?”

  1. Paradox Says:

    You know, the title of the movie really does explain it all. Just not in the way Stein thinks it does.

  2. Parrotlover77 Says:

    I like how at the end of that video, Uncle Giggles burst out into laughter over the name of movie. Taken out of context (perhaps even in context) it looks like he’s laughing at Stein, not at the title.

    I didn’t know Stein was upset because Evolution fails to provide an explanation for gravity. This is new to me. Are all cdesigners upset about that? Do they honestly think that scientists think natural selection accounts for the properties of the universe? If so, no wonder they think scientists are stupid.

  3. Ron Britton Says:

    Parrotlover:

    I recently watched a creationist video somewhere on YouTube that claimed there were six types of evolution. Included in there was the evolution of the universe and a few others. I don’t think cosmologists talk about the universe evolving. Even if they do, that’s a completely different thing.

    I think this is all part of the way creationists hear fragmentary things, then it rattles around inside their “brain”, and it comes out gibberish.

  4. The Watcher Says:

    I object to evolution! It doesn’t explain stock trading, game theory, or basketball!

  5. Parrotlover77 Says:

    I have heard cosmologists use the word evolve before, regarding how the universe changed from the early period to now, but it was usually something like “and this is how we think the universe evolved to be what it is today.” They certainly were NOT speaking of a selection/change/mutation process, as in biological evolution. They just meant, this is how the universe changed over time.

    Here’s a bunch of examples…
    http://search.live.com/results.aspx?q=how+the+universe+evolved

    This is very frustrating. Of course none of those articles are speaking of biological evolutionary concepts applied to cosmology, but how do you explain that to those not willing to listen? It takes too much effort to reteach the 3rd grade…

  6. Warren Says:

    Perhaps this all stems from the creationist’s inability to understand that words can mean different things in different contexts. When a scientist says theory they assume he means wild guess, when a cosmologist says the universe evolved they assume she means there ain’t no god, when I say ‘thanks but I don’t need a pamphlet about Jesus’ they assume I mean, please follow me for a block explaining how much Jesus loves me.

  7. Parrotlover77 Says:

    The best story i had was when they left soemthing under my windshield wiper while i was shopping. As i drove off, i drove toward where they were stuffing wasteful crap under other people’s windshield wipers. When I got near them, I turned on my windshield sprayer and wiper and it slipped out from under EXACTLY as i went by and fell onto the street not 8 feet from them. It was perfect timing. Almost as if God was helping me show them that they are full of crap… Hmm…

  8. Jeremy White Says:

    Yes, it certainly could have been. Allah works in mysterious ways.

  9. Savagemutt Says:

    Ron:

    I think that “Six Types of Evolution” comes from Kent Hovind. It was also reproduced in the classic Chick Tract, “Big Daddy”. I don’t know where Hovind stole it from (I doubt the guy ever had an original idea in his life).

  10. Sue Blue Says:

    Every time Ben Stein opens his gaping maw and drones on in his stupor-inducing voice, I’m reminded of that old saying:

    It is better to remain silent and be thought stupid than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    He should have quit after “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off”.

  11. Brian Says:

    As far as evolution and the universe go, I did watch something interesting about this very idea. It goes something like this:

    The idea revolves around the notion of a multiverse, in which ours is but one of an infinite number of universes. The theory posits that one universe may give rise to another. We know that our universe began its existence as a singularity. We also know that black holes are singularities. What if each black hole is the beginning of another universe which exists apart from our own? Speculative, to be sure, but a hell of a lot more plausible than god.

    Now, here’s where the idea of evolution comes into the picture. Scientists have long puzzled over why the laws of physics that govern our universe are the way they are. This idea speculates that each black hole retains certain characteristics of its parent universe, but perhaps ever so slightly modified. We know that the slightest alteration of the laws of physics as we know them would make our existence an almost certain impossibility. Perhaps the universe we inhabit was descended from a parent universe with almost the same physical laws, but something got changed just a bit as the big bang happened.

    There is no hard evidence whatsoever supporting this idea, and it may turn out to be bunk. But I have to admit, there is a certain elegance to it. At any rate, that’s the beautiful thing about science. If you put forth an idea that turns out to be wrong, your colleagues mercilessly correct you, and everyone is wiser for it. If only religion could be so honest with itself…..

  12. Ron Britton Says:

    Brian:

    It’s a clever idea, but I don’t know how you’d go about gathering evidence.

  13. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Ron – I saw an article on the very same thing and had forgotten until Brian’s post. If I remember correctly, the way they would “test” it is to create a new universe in a lab. Sounds crazy, but apparently it might be able to be done with a sufficiently large collider. The universe created would be infinitely small at first, but would expand and we might be able to observe properties about it for a short time before it breaks off and evolves in its own way (apparently there’s no danger of it displacing our universe). Basically the scientists would become a cdesigner of the lab universe. LOL. Maybe our universe came about the same way and the fundies are “right” about the origin? ;-) LOL

    The “natural selection” part of the theory states that unstable universes (ones with “unfit” physical properties) would die quickly in a big crunch (or whatever) or would not have the necessary physical properties to create new universes in singularities like black holes and would be removed from the multiverse “gene pool” so-to-speak. Whereas ones like ours live a long time and create many new universes.

    Either way, it’s highly speculative, and it was just a novel (and as Brian said, elegant) untested theory about why the properties of the universe are the way they are. It’s also entirely possible that they are the way they are because there simply is no other possible configuration. Everything dealing with multiverses is all very theoretical right now.

    The problem is that maybe a fundie saw this and told another fundie who told another fundie who told Ben Stein and his poor feeble brain cannot comprehend that although it is based on sound biological theory, it is in NO WAY connected to it in any other way. Apparently to fundies, if it’s not supported in the way of cosmology then it MUST not apply to biology either!!

  14. ctham Says:

    One can also expand this “evolutionary” theory of multi-universal development to take into account the effects of consciousness on reality. The basic idea is known as the “anthropic principle:” any universe governed by laws not permitting life is, by definition, unobservable. Thus, while the assortment of extremely convenient physical laws that happen to allow life in our universe might seem to be wildly improbable at first glance, and thus might suggest to the untrained eye the existence of an external creator, the present reality is quite possibly the only reality that is observable by intelligent beings (not sure if fundies fall into this category, but oh well) or else is one of a very small subset of allowable physical realities.

    In a sense, this is merely reiterating a common statement made by creationists: the set of possible physical laws that allow life to exist is tiny. What follows is often a probabilistic argument: the set of all possible physical laws with no biological restrictions is uncountably infinite, the set of biologically allowable laws is finite, therefore the probability of randomly selecting an appropriate set is negligible. The semantic distinction that is ignored in this type of argument, and is added by the anthropic principle, is the distinction between “physically possible” realities and “observable” realities. Thus, the probability of observing our version of reality is far from negligible, even though the probability of randomly choosing it from the set of all possible realities is effectively zero.