In Defense Of Ben Stein: Science Divorced From Religious Ethics Can Become A Monstrous Thing

Ben Stein has been getting flogged mercilessly, on the left and right, for saying this,

Stein: When we just saw that man, I think it was Mr. Myers [i.e. biologist P.Z. Myers], talking about how great scientists were, I was thinking to myself the last time any of my relatives saw scientists telling them what to do they were telling them to go to the showers to get gassed … that was horrifying beyond words, and that’s where science — in my opinion, this is just an opinion — that’s where science leads you.

Crouch: That’s right.

Stein: …Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people.

Crouch: Good word, good word.

Stein didn’t phrase that very eloquently, but the point he seems to be trying to make is that science divorced from religious ethics can become a monstrous thing indeed.

That is hardly a controversial notion.

In fact, you’ve probably seen more than a few horror/sci-fi movies that have this as their central premise. For example, just to name a few there’s Equilibrium, Resident Evil, Alien, Re-Animator, and Frankenstein.

If you want real life examples of what happens when science is untethered from morality, there are plenty of those, too, including the Nazi experiments that Stein mentioned (More examples here).

A world where people sit around all day singing Kumbaya in a cave would be a terrible place to live. However, a world where science is unencumbered by religious ethics would likely be just as horrible.

I believe that was the point Stein was trying to get across.

Hat tip to Little Green Footballs for the story.

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