Talk:Ben Stein

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Censorship Complaint

I'm restoring the quote I had added earlier today, and will gladly include the preceding and subsequent quotes from the interview to provide context. This is not "liberal quote mining", and that is a poor excuse for censorship. Stein is a prominent conservative spokesperson who made these statements on a Christian broadcast in late April 2008, and the host of the show endorsed the statement.

Stein certainly doesn't back down from these opinions, because a key point he makes in the movie Expelled is that the Nazis used aspects of evolution as a scientific justification for the actions of the Holocaust. The use of science to justify murder is a point he's making over and over, so this is not the mining of a cherry-picked quote to embarrass him - it's what he believes and promotes, and if it was so horrible his host wouldn't have endorsed it on camera. --DinsdaleP 13:49, 2 May 2008 (EDT)

DinsdaleP - there is a page for censorship complaints here at Conservapedia:Censorship. EngelUmpocker 13:50, 2 May 2008 (EDT)
Is the program available on-line? From what I can see, it's not. Philip J. Rayment 10:39, 3 May 2008 (EDT)
I wish there was a direct link, but there's not. To see the video, go to the Trinity Broadcasting Network's video-archive page at [1]. Once there, click on the "Search Videos" link to the right of the navigation tabs, and enter "Ben Stein". The selection you want is the Behind the Scenes segment from April 21st, 2008.

The episode is an interview with Stein to promote Expelled, and near the end Stein brings up the same theme of Evolution leading to the Holocaust that is mentioned in the film.

Stein talks about visiting concentration camps at 26:20 in the clip, and that's where he begins the narrative about how the last time his relatives listened to scientists was when they were being told to go into the showers to be gassed (at 27:20). The quote about science leading to killing people is at 28:25, which is also where th host, Paul Crouch Jr., endorsed the statement by calling them "good words, good words".

This is why I'm upset about my edits being removed as "quote mining" - if a conservative speaker promoting a film that makes a connection between evolution and the Holocaust goes on a conservative talk show and then, gasp, talks about evolution leading to the Holocaust and killing, AND the conservative host endorses the comment, how is that liberal quote mining? Today (5/5/2008) the News section of the CP homepage calls the Darwin-Hitler connection "Undeniable", so what was I posting that isn't being said elsewhere here by the powers in charge? --DinsdaleP 19:25, 5 May 2008 (EDT)
Thanks. I didn't look for "Ben Stein", but for the Behind the Scenes series, but as far as I could tell, that series wasn't archived. But I'll have another look tonight (if I don't forget). Philip J. Rayment 22:29, 5 May 2008 (EDT)
Behind the Scenes is one of their programs, so it may not turn up in a subject search. "Ben Stein" definitely works, though.--DinsdaleP 23:31, 5 May 2008 (EDT)
Trying to view this has been a major frustration to me. First, my broadband (ADSL) connection is a fairly slow one, which means that I often cannot stream video fast enough to watch it, so often let it play right through with the sound off, then replay it with the sound on, this time without jerkiness because it's still in the buffer. But after downloading 30 minutes of video, my computer was (co-incidentally?) running very slow, and I had to reboot it, dumping the buffer in the process. So I do it again, only to find that in this case, this approach doesn't work. I search some more, and find that it can be downloaded as an MP4 file, so do that (taking over an hour). But Windows Media Player won't play it, and RealPlayer only has sound. However, I find that QuickTime will play it, but it uses so much processing power that it still skips bits of the sound. Off to the Internet, find a codec (or set thereof) that will allow MediaPlayer Classic to play it, download and install that (with MediaPlayer Classic), and finally I can watch it properly! Of course, another day has gone by.
Anyway, to the quote in question. Apart from an extra "and" (the last one), your transcript was accurate. Which leaves the question of motive (for inclusion) and relevance.
But before I get onto that, I have to admit that I didn't like what he said. That is, I disagree that science (necessarily) leads to killing people. And there's no clear mitigating circumstances to justify the statement. However, I will suggest that what he was probably meaning was naturalistic science, not science per se. He had just mentioned what Nazi scientists had done to his people, and referred to Myer's comments, in which Myer was saying that "science" was displacing religion (which again, would only be true of naturalistic science). Further, there was nothing else in the interview (or movie clips) to suggest that Stein was opposed to science itself. Crouch's "endorsement" was (a) almost certainly of his sentence as a whole, not just the last part of it, and (b) possibly simply a polite response even though disagreeing on that point, as Crouch was not an antagonistic interviewer, but a friendly one.
So why include it? To show that Stein is anti-science? To show that he confuses science with naturalism? To show that without a script he uses the wrong term? And is it particularly relevant? On the one hand, being accurate and in a fair context, I've no major opposition to the quote being in the article. But on the other hand, I'm not convinced that there's any real point in including it either.
Philip J. Rayment 11:21, 7 May 2008 (EDT)
Philip, if there's an award for diligence you've certainly earned it with this one - I appreciate you not giving up on viewing the clip despite all the obstacles.
So why include it? I agree that I don't think Stein is anti-science per se. He's a man of strong convictions but he's no Luddite. However, I believe that it's important to include it in an article about him for three reasons.
First, it directly correlates with and provides a supporting quotation for the Darwin-Holocaust link that he promotes in Expelled, which Conservapedia emphasizes as well.
Second, it provides a fair and objective example of how a reasonable position can become exaggerated over time to the point where it bears little resemblance to the original intent. If Stein were to view this clip two years ago or two years from now, would he stand by those words or admit that he was carried away in the moment? As an encyclopedia, I feel that this has instructional value in showing where unchecked rhetoric can lead to, just as Jerry Falwell did in his post-9/11 comments to Pat Robertson which he later retracted.
Finally, it was worth including as an objective counterpoint to some of the assertions made in Expelled, in that the anti-Darwin view can become exaggerated to the point of appearing to be as intolerant of naturalistic science as the latter is portrayed to be intolerant of ID. Crouch is a polite host, but any host has to be accountable for what he agrees or disagrees with on his show. When he chose to say "Good words, good words" instead of just thanking Stein for his opinion, it said a lot about how easy it is to get caught up in bias when it's towards a view you favor.
The bottom line is not that I'm out to censor or embarrass Stein, but in an encyclopedia article about the man which includes his notable quotes, this one should be included because it is timely, accurate, and relevant to the issues that make him newsworthy. It may not be flattering, but given how much he talked about this at the end of the interview, it wasn't quote-mining--DinsdaleP 23:12, 7 May 2008 (EDT)
I think you are conflating two issues together. One being the Darwinism/holocaust link, and the other being the science/killing link. I think that you will agree that, if anything, the latter is based on the former, and not the other way around. So when you refer to "how much he talked about this at the end of the interview", this is true for the former, not the latter. And therefore the brief comment about science is not a "supporting quotation for the Darwin-Holocaust link".
It's hardly fair to compare his comments to naturalistic science's intolerance of ID. Naturalistic science wants to suppress ID. ID just wants a fair hearing.
To the extent that it's an "example of how a reasonable position can become exaggerated", that belongs in an article about that, not in this article.
Sorry, you still haven't convinced me.
Philip J. Rayment 11:51, 8 May 2008 (EDT)
To be honest, Philip, I don't expect anyone in authority here to condone putting that quote back on Stein's page because it's unflattering to him, and unflattering references invariably get removed (and the editors responsible blocked) because of alleged liberal bias. I've seen several cases of controversial quotes by Phyllis Schlafly being redacted here, even though I'm sure Mrs. Schlafly continues to stand by them, because some may consider them unflattering. You've been fair-minded and provide good reasoning in your response, but for me it comes down to this:
People who are newsworthy or notable enough to rate an encyclopedia entry do so because of their actions, their viewpoints or both. Ben Stein is being given multiple references and a dedicated article within Conservapedia because of his views. The statements he made in that clip are in alignment with those views, and in the context of what he's promoting in Expelled. There was some outrage in the blogosphere over those quotes, but neither he nor Paul Crouch, Jr. retracted their comments or tried to clarify their context. (I don't believe in putting the post-9/11 comments Jerry Falwell made in his article, for example, because he retracted them afterwards). If a person makes a timely, significant quote in line with the views that make them newsworthy, and chooses to stand by them verbatim, then I don't feel it's quote-mining to include them in an article about the person.
Since Ed Poor's pulled my edit twice over alleged bias, I'm not going to waste my time putting it back in. It's just a said comment about CP that these kinds of double-standards in recording facts exist.--DinsdaleP 18:43, 8 May 2008 (EDT)

I have no idea what point you're trying to make by quote mining, but since we all agree that "using an isolated quote" to distort a person's views has no place in an encyclopedia, you ought to know better.

If you've seen Stein's latest movie, you know his position of Evolution, Darwin and the Holocaust. If you don't want the Ben Stein or Expelled articles to reflect the real views of their subjects, then you need to leave this project.

You could help if you would explain (1) what Expelled actually said (both Darwin-Hitler quotes, if you remember them) and then (2) explain why liberals are (or profess to be!) outraged by the quotes.

Let me give you a head start. The movie says that Hitler misused Darwin's idea and that modern evolutionists are not to blame for this. Still, ID opponents have found a handy way to distract attention from the movie's thesis that ID supporters are being persecuted. Simply accuse the movie and/or Stein of exaggerating the Darwin-Hitler connection (and emotionalize the issue by pretending to be outraged by the supposed exaggeration). --Ed Poor Talk 23:34, 8 May 2008 (EDT)

First of all, I've renamed the section back to the original complaint - this is a talk page, and the subject of this section is to discuss my objections to having the Stein quote removed for alleged liberal quote-mining. If you want to start a new section below on Hitler and Social Darwinism, feel free.
That said, Ed, did you view the full interview that I had sourced the quote from? Stein was doing it as part of his promotion for Expelled, and the interview touched on the film, the issues of academic suppression with regard to ID and more. When he made the comments I quoted, it was completely in the context of the views Stein holds regarding science and faith, where quote-mining is about surgically taking a line out of context to create an impression different than the original context.
If a quote is an honest slip of the tongue (like George Bush talking about O/B's showing their love for women patients) then it doesn't belong here. If it's a statement that's long been retracted or disavowed (like George Wallace on segregation or Jerry Falwell's comments on the cause of 9/11) then they don't belong here either, unless they are properly annotated to show the changing context and final positions by the speaker. I wanted to include the Stein quote because it's current, directly tied into his positions regarding the issues in Expelled (the interview was to promote the film), and hasn't been withdrawn or elaborated on by Stein since. I'm being respectful and logical in laying out my position on this - can you provide an equally sound argument why it's quote-mining or inappropriate?--DinsdaleP 09:54, 9 May 2008 (EDT)
  • By the way, I reverted the continued attempt by Dinsdale to justify his out of context quotation (see quote mining) by portraying it as a complaint against "censorship". Censorship is the suppression of an idea, such as the suppression of Intelligent Design by the academy - the subject of Ben Stein's latest film.
  • Dinsdale - acting in accord with the academy - erected a smokescreen to distract readers and contributors from the academy's censorship of ID by making a false countercharge.
  • If he wants to mention that some blogger named Mark Frauenfelder thinks Stein is anti-science (based on a quote-mined passage from an interview) that would be one thing. Frauenfelder's interpretation could be balanced with Stein's actual views. We can use this as an example of how the anti-ID crowd resort to personal attacks to discredit their opponents.
  • But any attempt to get Conservapedia to endorse attacks like this runs counter to the project goals. I suspect Dinsdale is aware of all of this, hence the one-week block. --Ed Poor Talk 10:13, 9 May 2008 (EDT)
And I've reinstated his civil discussion, which was not a personal attack, and was more an explanation of the point that he had been making than a "continued attempt" to justify anything. He had already conceded that he was not going to get his way and seemed to be not wanting to argue the point any further. Philip J. Rayment 12:29, 9 May 2008 (EDT)
Philip, you might want to consider unblocking Dinsdale.[2] or asking Ed to do so. Assuming, that is, what was written above was the basis for the block. As it stands, he is blocked and cannot continue the civil discussion. --Rutm 19:38, 9 May 2008 (EDT)
I have told Ed Poor that I don't agree with the block. As yet, I haven't had a reply. Philip J. Rayment 02:48, 10 May 2008 (EDT)