I read the Scientific American fisking of Ben Stein and winced, not because they were necessarily correct but because he had given them such openings which no professional would have done. It’s like, hypothetically, when a team such as Man United might skilfully work the ball upfield, only to pass it to Alex Ferguson’s son Jason to score and he fluffs it. Apologies to Sir Alex – absolutely no slur intended, just an invented analogy, admittedly not a good one.
But the point is that I could have done a better job of establishing the connection between Darwin’s evolution and the Third Reich. That there is a tortuously reached conclusion is not the problem – there is an indirect connection in terms of the forces behind each of these phenomena but the way Stein did it was not the right way and his celebrity compounded the problem.
In short – he allowed himself, through not anticipating the counterargument, to be torn apart. Sometimes though he does come out with something good and the following was passed on to me by one who would in no way embrace a religious point of view. The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.
It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me, as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.
In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said okay.
Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves..
Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace. Funny how you will not send [this message] to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it. Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
Pass it on if you think it has merit but if you discard this … don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.
That suppression is going on is not even in question – the Wren Chapel saga was enough proof of that. even Mr Eugenides and The Tin Drummer were moved to say that it was absolute cobblers for the authorities to do it.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Wren Chapel during a brief stopover at William and Mary some years ago. This is a disgrace.
I have come across this unwillingness to allow symbols of non-atheism in public spaces many times recently, but I just can’t work it out. Why do atheists need to protected from symbols of faith, even in chapels? Are they really so chippy and insecure that this is necessary? My experience of atheists suggests that most don’t give a damn.
The man’s comments are kind of vapid cynicism, the laziest possible answer, which attempts BB-style, to show that an act of censorship is empowering, and that the existence of a single object is a kind of direct assault. It’s also a secularist’s dogwhistle, complete with obligatory references to a mythical “everyone”, who can only be welcomed by the removal of religious things.
An Anonymous who seems to be on the inside, wrote:
And it ain’t over neither! Now Gene’s minions have removed the chairperson of the Philosophy Department. He’s one of only two department heads who refused to back a petition supporting Gene’s view of the Wren cross removal. And guess who replaced him? Yes, coincidentally, it was the very same professor who initiated that petition. And here’s the topper: he’s an English professor!
But it gets even better: the former Chairperson was removed due to anonymous complaints. Apparently he worried to much about standards and not enough about a “welcoming environment”. I wonder if they even bother to remove the ACLU’s logo off these briefs before they passed them around? Does Gene just keep a huge pile of blank “____ was/is not welcoming and/or inclusive” complaint forms sitting outside his door?
What form of discrimination is all right then?
Cranmer reported that Gerald Howarth gave his thoughts on the blasphemy bill:
Those of other religions who have come here down the centuries have done so in the full knowledge that this is a Christian country. One of the reasons why they come here is that our Christian faith is a tolerant faith—one that allows mosques to be built and that allows people to observe their traditions, to bring those traditions with them and to practise them.
It is a mistake that some of them should now assert that, because they have come here in rather large numbers, they should be entitled to overturn centuries of tradition in this country.
The Minister relied, as Ministers of course do, on the assertion of the Government’s new religion, which is discrimination: anything that is discriminatory is to be resisted, if not completely rejected.
I disagree with Gerald Howarth about the bill and agree with the socialists here that the law should have been repealed but for a different reason – on the grounds that if a faith is a true faith, it will stand by itself on the testimony of its proponents – it need not be propped up by law or spread by the sword or inquisitor’s chamber. It’s a debatable point.
Yet Mr. Howarth’s sentiments that the religion of our heritage is Christianity, that the heads of the church have deserted and betrayed that faith and that no other system of law and faith has any right to override our heritage, especially one as caustic and murderous as Islam, is completely correct.
Mosques and burquas
Let me ask a question. If the Martians had attacked earth, subjugating it and its women in almost every country and if they were currently engaged in doing that in our own country by subversion rather than conquest, what should we do when the Martian leaders demand that Martian shrines are built all over the land, that their women be bound from head to foot in cloth and that strange, discordant, chanted Martian prayers must ring out every morning across the cities and towns of this land?
What would be the human reaction to that call?
Would our answer have been get knotted? Frankly, the moment, in any society, that the tail starts wagging the dog, it’s time to have a good look at what has happened and to correct it.
In the end, those mosques will no doubt come down and the irritating, piercing chanting will cease but I do hope it can be done with an absolute minimum of bloodshed.