Thursday, March 13, 2008
The Big Tent Gets All Sticky ...
As PZ Mxyzptlk points out, there was all too much mutual stimulation going on for comfort during the close encounter of Ken Ham and Ben Stein. Ham describing Stein as "brilliant" was bad enough but to then go on to laud him as an "actor/ economist/ lawyer/ presidential speechwriter/ science observer -- a 21st-century Einsteinian figure" would make Johnny Wad want to go and take a shower.
But this is the part that I find particularly interesting. Stein was in Nashville for a special preview showing of Expelled: The Legend to yet another religious audience at the annual convention of the National Religious Broadcasters. According to Ham:
The audience leapt to its feet with generous applause at the film's conclusion—moved by the undaunted attempts of the Darwin-doubters (and their filmmaking allies) as they challenge the elites in America's educational and scientific establishments. Many of these Darwin challengers find themselves pitted against powerful evolutionists who despotically protect their evolution belief system, and sometimes expel those who would dare question Darwin.One wonders what mental gymnastics Ham goes through to consider it a complement to describe someone as "Einsteinian" and yet find those who are part of the "scientific establishment" to be "elites."
As far as Stein's role in this, perhaps his motives are similar to another conservative, Irving Kristol, who believes religion to be essential for instilling and maintaining morality in society:
There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people. There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn't work.Ken Ham has had his doubts before about Intelligent Design, perhaps because he realized that the "elites" in that movement have about the same opinion of him and AiG as the "scientific establishment" does. Maybe the people who think of underpaid and overworked university professors, instructors and grad students as "elites" had better check out just who it is that is cozying up to them.
Sadly, there are days when that appears to be a large assumption.