While idly poking around the internet the other day, as I have a habit of doing, I got to wondering if intelligent design is a largely Christian
phenomenon. All that I hear about it has to do with Christians and the evangelical agenda.
Then I thought, Ben Stein believes in ID so much he's in a movie about it. But Stein can be a Jewish name. Hmmmm ...
First I verified that Ben Stein is indeed Jewish.
Then I wanted to verify that he was a major proponent of ID. Here are the words
straight from his blog.
He takes a new tack on it though. As a lawyer, professor, and general all-around brain, he's saying that keeping ID out of the schools is an attack
on freedom. Reversing the truth: that ID in school is a violation of our Constitutional right of separation of church and state. He doesn't try to
cover the fact that it is about god, he claims:
This includes the ability to inquire whether a higher power, a being greater than man, is involved with how the universe operates. This has always
been basic to science. ALWAYS.
Intelligent he may be, but science is not concerned with finding out whether there is a being of higher power. Science is interested in the laws of
nature and what can be verified through observation and experimentation. Theology has never been a part of true science. NEVER.
After answering those two questions for myself, I wondered if ID was accepted widely by the Jewish Community.
It is not.
Most Jews do not accept that ID should be taught in schools.
It is a matter of faith for them, not science.
All this begs the question: Why is Ben Stein the champion of Intelligent Design? He is a very smart man, he's had a career that included writing
speeches for the White House. But he is Jewish. And he knows the law. So why is he taking up the sword for a largely Christian idea?
Has Ben Stein been bought, to act as a sort of human argument from authority? "See? Ben Stein, a JEW, believes in ID. So the Jews believe in ID.
Therefore, you should too."
Is he on the ID bandwagon because he likes to stir the pot? He's a big defender of Nixon, according to
his wiki biography.
Wiki also states he is heavily aligned with the Republican Party, including being an advocate of pro-life. I had to know how Jews felt about
Jews are considerably divided in terms of life issues. Adherents to Orthodox Judaism are particularly stringent in these matters, as Judaism stresses
the sanctity of life above virtually all other considerations. (Commandments for which one must accept death rather than violate include only murder,
idolatry/apostasy, and forbidden sexual relations.) According to halakha (Jewish law) abortion is prohibited once 40 days have passed since
conception. Before 40 days have passed, most poskim (Jewish legal decisors) still generally prohibit abortion, though this interval is considered a
period of lenience. If a pregnancy threatens the life of the woman, all agree that the fetus must be aborted in order to save the woman's life.
Other denominations of Judaism (Reform, Conservative, etc.) espouse more liberal interpretations of the traditional texts, or often reject them
outright as irrelevant or outdated. Consequently, adherents to these movements often take a more liberal stance on abortion issues.
While it appears some Jews do support the pro-life movement, it also appears that it is a mainly Christian ideal.
So, does Ben Stein just go along with the Republican Party's majority stances? Is he pandering to future evangelical voters, perhaps with an eye on
the presidency? Is he a closet Christian? Is he doing it just for the fun of it?
What is it with Ben Stein and ID?