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View Full Version : Ben Stein - the new Michael Moore?



III
03-06-2008, 07:50 PM
Ben Stein is coming out with a new movie named Expelled (http://www.expelledthemovie.com/enterflash.php) which examines the issue of Intelligent Design being suppressed in public schools. Kind of an anti-Michael Moore, if you will, although it seems like he's taking a less guerilla approach.

This is sure to be a controversial movie, but I think Ben Stein is one of the sharpest, most interesting people in Hollywood so I'm interested in seeing how he approaches this type of documentary. It'll also be interesting to see if he gets ostracized by Hollywood for this.

Your thoughts?

Bueller?

Bueller?

Sarpedon
03-06-2008, 08:04 PM
I'd say that Ben Stein is the new Kent Hovind.

Shadow_Ferret
03-06-2008, 08:06 PM
If he's an anti-Michael Moore, wouldn't that make him super-ultra Right Winged Reactionary Conservative?

ETA: Oh, wait, you said he's examining why Intelligent Design ISN'T being taught. So yeah. Nevermind.

III
03-06-2008, 08:12 PM
Warning: The movie is rated PG for "brief smoking". I wonder how much smoking they had to edit out to get it down from an "R".

C.bronco
03-06-2008, 08:16 PM
Ben Stein seems a lot smarter than Michael Moore.

That "PG for brief smoking" part will take a while to truly sink in. I think it caught me off guard.

Celia Cyanide
03-06-2008, 08:19 PM
I dunno, I like Ben Stein. But I cannot think of a topic for a documentary that would be less interesting to me than this, so I will probably never see it.

maestrowork
03-06-2008, 08:20 PM
Ben Stein is a very intelligent guy. But I never thought of putting him and Intelligent Design together.

Calla Lily
03-06-2008, 08:26 PM
Oh, Lord above, not this movie again!

I'm on the mailing list of the PR company that's promoting the movie. They're desperate. No one apparently gives a hoot. They emailed me twice about doing a group phone interview. Then they called. I refused, politely. Then they left me a VM, saying that my interveiw was scheduled for 2 pm (message left at noon same day). Um... I have a FT job--I don't schedule conflicting interviews. Turns out it was another dial-in group thing.

3 days ago, FedEx delivered a HUGE media kit for this. Teacher's guide. Bumper sticker. Large fold-out poster. several full-bleed glossy flyers with movie taglines on them. Luggage tag. Referee-type whistle. Copy of DVD. More handouts, bio info, positive reviews. I was expecting a board game, fer crying out loud, the box was so big!

I tossed it all.

If the education system is his platform, more power to him. But I'm completely fed up with the PR bombardment. It's like ads for those direct to vid movies they run over and over on TV for a week, then disappear.

Wow. I ranted there. Sorry.

Sarpedon
03-06-2008, 08:28 PM
Ben Stein is a very intelligent guy. But I never thought of putting him and Intelligent Design together.

Its quite simple; intelligent design, like all things religious, is a way to get gullible people to give you lots of money. In my darker moments, I've considered going the religious merchandising way myself.

TerzaRima
03-06-2008, 08:28 PM
I'll see it just to watch Stein on film. Anyone remember Win Ben Stein's Money? Whatever else he is, he's never boring.

III
03-06-2008, 08:41 PM
Its quite simple; intelligent design, like all things religious, is a way to get gullible people to give you lots of money. In my darker moments, I've considered going the religious merchandising way myself.

Yes, I'm sure that's exactly why Ben Stein is making this movie. He can't possibly squeeze another penny from intelligent people and is desperate to amass more wealth in any way possible. Very astute observation.

cethklein
03-10-2008, 10:14 PM
While I'm 100% sure I'm NOT gonig to agree with whatever Stein says in this movie (I don't believe Intelligent Design should be taught in schools at all) I don't think he deserves to be compared to Michael Moore.

moore is a hack, a fake, and a terrible director on all fronts. I often wonder if he's even as "liberal" as he claims to be. All his films/tv shows seem geared mainly at shock value. He seems to be in this solely for the money and publicity and little else. His tactics are immature and leave him open to criticism far too much.

And on that subject, Moore stance on criticism bothers me a lot. He all but refuses to go on any news program where they may question his films. For a guy who thinks he's so right (or wants us to think he is anyway) you'd think he'd want to defend his views. Sicko was a prime example. He said exactly what people want to hear without delving into the negatives of universal healthcare "like the UK's "Patient stacking" debacle). Or in Bowlnig for Collumbine where he would go off on tangents that had nothing to do with the shootings. Watching his films is like watching a train wreck. Yet he gets all these accolades solely because of content.

I like to think Stein will at least be mature about it and put forth a good argument, even if it's one I don't agree with.

NikeeGoddess
03-10-2008, 11:17 PM
I don't think he deserves to be compared to Michael Moore.i agree but for different reasons. imo documentary filmmakers are NOT news reporters. they are opinion statements that can be skewed any way the filmmaker wants them to be skewed as they see fit. no one pays them to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth -- which is impossible anyway b/c one persons truth is another persons half truth and another persons lie.

Celia Cyanide
03-10-2008, 11:52 PM
i agree but for different reasons. imo documentary filmmakers are NOT news reporters.

No, they're not. A documentary filmmaker is not obligated to put anything into a film that s/he does not want to put in.

Autodidact
03-11-2008, 12:06 AM
I don't know about Michael Moore, but ID is no more being suppressed than is the theory that demons cause disease or God cuts individual snowflakes out of shiny paper. ID is not taught as science because it isn't. Evolution is taught as the prevailing, fundamental, broadly accepted scientific theory because it is. Period.

rugcat
03-11-2008, 12:33 AM
moore is a hack, a fake, and a terrible director on all fronts.I'd have to disagree. Moore may or may not be a good human being. His films may or may not be propaganda. But he knows how to make a movie and keep the viewers' interest. There's a reason his films do so well, and it's not just content. Other documentary films on the same subjects sink like a stone.

Like him or not, he's a talented filmmaker.

III
03-11-2008, 01:09 AM
I don't know about Michael Moore, but ID is no more being suppressed than is the theory that demons cause disease or God cuts individual snowflakes out of shiny paper. ID is not taught as science because it isn't. Evolution is taught as the prevailing, fundamental, broadly accepted scientific theory because it is. Period.

And yet somehow, thousands of brilliant scientists still believe in ID. I think the issue being investigated in this documentary is the ostracism of these scientists by exactly the attitude you're expressing, regardless of their intellect, accomplishments, or arguments.

Autodidact
03-11-2008, 01:13 AM
And yet somehow, thousands of brilliant scientists still believe in ID. No they don't.
I think the issue being investigated in this documentary is the ostracism of these scientists by exactly the attitude you're expressing, regardless of their intellect, accomplishments, or arguments. The attitude that science should be taught in the science classroom?

Celia Cyanide
03-11-2008, 01:15 AM
And yet somehow, thousands of brilliant scientists still believe in ID.

The fact that scientists believe in it does not make it science.

Sarpedon
03-11-2008, 01:28 AM
and ID frauds tend to use the term 'scientist' very loosely. For example, an electrical engineer is a 'scientist'. Also, I've more than once seen ID frauds digging up quotes from long dead scientists and masquerading them as present day luminaries. The most egregious of them was a man who was a head of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich in the 18th century.

Intelligent design is not taught in Science classes for the same reason the theory of the Four Humours is not taught in med school. Because its USELESS and FALSE. Evolutionary theory is used routinely in developing treatments of contagious diseases. How many cures has Intelligent design theory developed? ZERO. What was it Jesus said about judging the vine from the fruit?

III
03-11-2008, 01:42 AM
No they don't.

Not believing in ID is fine, but to say that no real scientists do is simply not accurate (http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-scientists.html). Are you asserting that their belief in ID negates their credentials as a sceintist?


The fact that scientists believe in it does not make it science.

That's the most ironic thing I've ever read. I love it.

Sarpedon
03-11-2008, 01:48 AM
That's the most ironic thing I've ever read. I love it.

Ha! so if a Quantum Physicist believes that Coke is better than Pepsi, do you think that is science?

Thats the trouble with Intelligent Design and Creationist people. Your "Follow the Leader" mentality. Do you honestly think there's nothing more to science than the opinion of scientists?

III
03-11-2008, 02:12 AM
Ha! so if a Quantum Physicist believes that Coke is better than Pepsi, do you think that is science?

Thats the trouble with Intelligent Design and Creationist people. Your "Follow the Leader" mentality. Do you honestly think there's nothing more to science than the opinion of scientists?

Easy there, tiger. What do any of us base our scientific beliefs on if not what scientists and teachers tell us and explain to us and what we're able to observe? Do you base your belief in Evolution on what you've observed, on personal experiments, or on what the modern scientific community tells you? Did you come up with all your scientific theories on your own or did you follow a leader?

And I think there is much more to science than the beliefs, conclusions, and theories of scientists. That's actually the theory behind ID, Theistic Design, and some philosophies of Creationism. Not that Evolution is necessarilly incorrect, but rather that Evolution is further evidence of an intelligent design in a universe that moves from order to chaos.

But getting back to the movie (since this is in the movie section, not P&CE), I wonder if people will be mad about the whole issue and stay away or mad about the issue and check it out. What I'm hearing so far for the most part is, people have already made up their minds that ID is dangerous and they want nothing more to do with it in any way, shape, or form. Even from someone like Ben Stein.

cethklein
03-11-2008, 02:24 AM
i agree but for different reasons. imo documentary filmmakers are NOT news reporters. they are opinion statements that can be skewed any way the filmmaker wants them to be skewed as they see fit. no one pays them to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth -- which is impossible anyway b/c one persons truth is another persons half truth and another persons lie.

Very true but Michael Moore claims he is telling "only the truth" I think what bugs me about his films is if anyone else made them, I'd love them, because i agree with 90% of the core points he's trying to make.

rugcat
03-11-2008, 03:45 AM
Not believing in ID is fine, but to say that no real scientists do is simply not accurate (http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-scientists.html). Are you asserting that their belief in ID negates their credentials as a sceintist?
I'll apologize ahead of time, because this is always a subject that excites passions.

Being a "scientist" means nothing. A chemist or a mathematician is no more or less qualified to talk about evolution than is an urban fantasy writer, for example. And the vast, vast majority of scientists in biological and geological fields believe in evolution and reject the idea of intelligent design.

There are certainly some who do not, but their acceptance is based on religious beliefs. Their position mostly runs thus: The bible is true. The concept of evolution contradicts the Bible. Therefore, evolution must be false. This is logically unassailable, but it's a matter of faith, not science.

They are taking a default position on what must be true, and using their considerable intellect to search for things to support those beliefs. This is exactly the opposite of the scientific method, where facts are first observed, and then and only then is a theory is constructed to explain them.

In the link provided, there is this quote: "One example is the late Dr. Arthur E. Wilder-Smith, an honored scientist with an amazing three earned doctorates."

A quick bit of research about the man brings up a first person account of his conversion to Christ. It was after that conversion that he earned his doctorates, and felt the need to dispute evolutionary principles. In other words, he started out with an agenda -- again the exact opposite of how a scientist is supposed to function.

Many religious but non Fundamentalist scientists deny the validity of ID, but ID is accepted as a viable theory almost exclusively by committed Christian Fundamentalists. It is not a scientific theory; it is a particular religious belief, and that is why it has no place in the science classroom.

Celia Cyanide
03-11-2008, 04:00 AM
That's the most ironic thing I've ever read. I love it.

I don't get it. Why is it ironic? Do you think that everything a scientist believes is scientific fact? It's not.

Scientists are just like the rest of us, and they have religious beliefs, and philosophical beliefs. A scientist can believe in Intelligent Design, but that doesn't make ID science. Just like a scientist can believe in God, love, or existentialism.

Autodidact
03-11-2008, 04:04 AM
Not believing in ID is fine, but to say that no real scientists do is simply not accurate (http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-scientists.html). Are you asserting that their belief in ID negates their credentials as a sceintist? I didn't say that none do, I said that it is not the case that thousands do. I doubt that you can name even 20, let alone thousands of, contemporary biologists who either reject the theory of evolution or accept intelligent design as a biological theory.

btw, considering that you are trying to establish that intelligent design should be taught as science it's interesting that you linked to a page regarding creationism. As you point out, Intelligent Design is nothing but creationism masquerading as science.

Celia Cyanide
03-11-2008, 04:06 AM
Very true but Michael Moore claims he is telling "only the truth" I think what bugs me about his films is if anyone else made them, I'd love them, because i agree with 90% of the core points he's trying to make.

While I understand why you are saying that you don't like Michael Moore, I don't think it's necessarily true that if anyone else made his films, they would not do what he does. I saw a documentary recently about a 6 year old painter, and her family was very upset, and felt that the documentary did not accurately represent "the truth." Any time you see a documentary film, you are only seeing what the filmmaker chooses to show you. Moore makes films about people and events that can be easily researched, because they are well known. Many documentary subjects can't.

Autodidact
03-11-2008, 04:08 AM
Easy there, tiger. What do any of us base our scientific beliefs on if not what scientists and teachers tell us and explain to us and what we're able to observe? Do you base your belief in Evolution on what you've observed, on personal experiments, or on what the modern scientific community tells you? Did you come up with all your scientific theories on your own or did you follow a leader? I base my scientific beliefs on what the consensus of scientists tell me is science, not what they tell me about religion or music. They may or may not believe that the universe was intelligently designed, but they know that Intelligent Design is not science, and that is the issue. The scientists are the people who tell us that Intelligent Design is not science. Even ID proponent Michael Behe, under oath, trying to testify that ID is science, admitted that if ID is science, then so is astrology.


And I think there is much more to science than the beliefs, conclusions, and theories of scientists. That's actually the theory behind ID, Theistic Design, and some philosophies of Creationism. Not that Evolution is necessarilly incorrect, but rather that Evolution is further evidence of an intelligent design in a universe that moves from order to chaos. That may well be, but it is not science, and should not be taught in a science classroom.

Sarpedon
03-11-2008, 05:28 PM
Easy there, tiger. What do any of us base our scientific beliefs on if not what scientists and teachers tell us and explain to us and what we're able to observe? Do you base your belief in Evolution on what you've observed, on personal experiments, or on what the modern scientific community tells you? Did you come up with all your scientific theories on your own or did you follow a leader?

As a matter of fact, I have performed various experiments myself, and know certain things from personal knowledge. Let me tell you a story.

I grew up in a medical family. As a child my parents would give me picture books of human anatomy to look at. I had basically memorized human organ layout by the time I was 7. This was before anyone told me anything about evolution. Then, when I was in 7th grade, we started doing dissections in school. Now, this was also before we learned anything about evolution, as this was considered too controversial for middle schoolers. It was just Linnean classification and 'name the organelle.'

Anyway, I had just cut open my first frog, and lo and behold, I opened it up and I saw every single organ that I had learned in my human anatomy books, in the same relative positions, nice as pie. Some were bigger, some were smaller, but they were all there. I didn't need the supplied work sheet. From that day forward, I had no doubt that there was a relationship between human beings and frogs, because I had seen it myself. When I later learned about evolution, it made perfect sense, from my experience. Pretty good for a 12 year old, huh?

The evidence is there, in front of you. Mountains of fossils, millions of specimines, jar after jar of embryos. You don't need to have the scientists around to tell you. It is so obvious if you bother to look, and to think, and to be honest. A 12 year old can do it.

The honest man looks at the world and bases his opinions on what he sees. The deluded man starts with his opinions and twists the world around them.

You didn't answer my question; what diseases have ID scientists cured?

III
03-11-2008, 07:03 PM
Rather than spending the morning multi-quoting, let me sum up. This thread is about a movie. The basis of the movie (as far as I can tell without having actually seen it) is: There are scientists and teachers who believe in Intelligent Design and they feel like they're being ostracized from the academic community.

My points have been to show that this, in fact is happening. Many people think this is a good thing because it's clearing the waters. Some people believe it's not happening because these people are not really scientists. Some people believe Intelligent Design should be taught in schools. And some scientists like Francis Colins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Collins_(geneticist)) who postulate Theistic Evolution may represent a bridge in that gap.

I haven't said ID should be taught in the classroom. I haven't said ID is science and Evolution is false. All I've said is that some scientists believe in ID and that they have legitimate credentials, and it’ll be interesting to see how the movie approaches the topic.

But off the topic of the movie, I say, if you want to teach Evolution in schools, go for it. Scientifically pure academics in America? Sounds great. Go for it. Let’s discover as much as we can and be the happiest, smartest generation in human history. Make it so.

Sarpedon
03-11-2008, 07:20 PM
Well thank you. But when you hang out with smart people, you shouldn't be surprised if they tease you for believing dumb things.

And yes, there is big money to be made of ID, otherwise it would have gone away by now, as I've pointed out several times, there's no other use for it.

Is this 'persecution' more or less than people who believe in evolution get in evangelical churches? Its the religious faction who decided to turn this into a 'wedge' issue. Now they whine about how they are getting 'persecuted.'

ID is an attempt to politicize science, it is right that scientists have rejected it.

III
03-11-2008, 07:35 PM
Well thank you. But when you hang out with smart people, you shouldn't be surprised if they tease you for believing dumb things.


I'll remember that next time I'm talking to Rugcat. He's smart and thoughtful and listens and acts maturely. You, on the other hand, don't seem to display the thoughtfulness that makes dialog meaningful.

So as much as you've hounded me throughout this thread, trying desperately to get my attention when I've ignored you and even been gracious towards you, you get the honor of being the second person I've ever put on ignore. Sadly, I still like you better than the first guy. Anyway, put it in your sig line - it'll make you famous.

rugcat
03-11-2008, 09:04 PM
I haven't said ID should be taught in the classroom. I haven't said ID is science and Evolution is false. All I've said is that some scientists believe in ID and that they have legitimate credentials, and itíll be interesting to see how the movie approaches the topic. Very true. I ignored that and went off on a tangent, thus disproving your comments about me.

III
03-11-2008, 09:11 PM
Very true. I ignored that and went off on a tangent, thus disproving your comments about me.

Thus re-proving them. You're a gracious guy, John and I learn a lot from you.

cethklein
03-11-2008, 09:34 PM
While I understand why you are saying that you don't like Michael Moore, I don't think it's necessarily true that if anyone else made his films, they would not do what he does. I saw a documentary recently about a 6 year old painter, and her family was very upset, and felt that the documentary did not accurately represent "the truth." Any time you see a documentary film, you are only seeing what the filmmaker chooses to show you. Moore makes films about people and events that can be easily researched, because they are well known. Many documentary subjects can't.

You're right. And obviously no one is going to be able to make a film completely devoid of bias. But Moore doesn't even try. I always viewed his films as "mocukumentaries" And in that context I suppose they're pretty good. The issue is as I said, he doesn't even try, but then claims he is trying. He only seems to want to make money. Example, whenever it's an election year he blows smoke for the Democratic party to get viewers and as soon as the election is over he turns on them. It's all out of convenience.

But that's not the point. This topic was about Ben Stein, and I do feel he'd likely do a good job even if I don't agree with his point. I may see the film anyway, not sure yet.

Sarpedon
03-11-2008, 09:47 PM
trying desperately to get my attention when I've ignored you and even been gracious towards you


That's the most ironic thing I've ever read. I love it.

I became ungracious when you insulted my friend, Autodidact. And the idea that I care whether or not I have your attention or whether you are ignoring me or not is laughable. I've been stating my views for the benefit of people who are reading, I never waste an opportunity to warn people of scams. Since you've already made up your mind, why bother?

Sorry to spoil your attempt at a last word.

TerzaRima
03-11-2008, 10:15 PM
But Moore doesn't even try. I always viewed his films as "mocukumentaries"

I agree. I apparently come across as the queen of liberals or something, because people always say things like, "YOU would really like [name of Michael Moore movie here]". But I don't know that the left needs its very own angry blowhard polemicist.

cray
03-11-2008, 11:08 PM
sarpedon, it's interesting that you use the term "laughable" because that is what i was thinking when i see things like this,


intelligent design, like all things religious, is a way to get gullible people to give you lots of money.

or this


I never waste an opportunity to warn people of scams


III has tried to bring this thread back on point several times but for some reason you resist.

it's simple, if you want to debate ID, pick the proper area and start a thread.

Celia Cyanide
03-11-2008, 11:15 PM
I became ungracious when you insulted my friend, Autodidact.

Actually, that comment was directed at me. And I still haven't gotten answer as to why that was the most ironic thing the OP had ever read.

Sarpedon
03-11-2008, 11:49 PM
Cray:
Actually, that was the most on topic thing I've said, really.

We were discussing ben stein, his movie, how it will be received and his motives. I speculated his motive was money. Is that off topic?

blacbird
03-12-2008, 12:06 AM
And yet somehow, thousands of brilliant scientists still believe in ID.

No, they don't. Just to second what Autodidact said. "Intelligent Design" may be a perfectly fine religious concept, but that's what it is: religious. By the very nature of the foundation on which it stands, it violates the basic principles of science, and has no place in a science classroom.

caw

III
03-12-2008, 12:13 AM
Alrighty then. Since this has become a TIO thread with no relation to discussing movies I'm gonna go ahead and lock it. Feel free to start a new thread in TIO if anyone feels the need to continue the debate.