Name Calling in Lieu of an Argument

Bruce Chapman

[Note: For a comprehensive rebuttal to critics of Ben Stein’s documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, please see: NCSE Exposed at]
It does not seem that Arthur Caplan, the toast of MSNBC, has even seen the film Expelled, his representations of it are so uninformed. Yet he is prepared to charge in public that Ben Stein is a “Holocaust denier,” someone whose name should be forever “a source of scorn.”
Would this be same Ben Stein who takes his Expelled audience through Dachau to show them where the Holocaust took place? Some denier!

So Caplan is smearing Stein, that is all there is to it. He distorts the message of the movie and then attacks it as a straw man. He probably should add to his list of scorn targets David Berlinski, Richard Weikart (also in the film) and a host of historians who have written about the Nazi era (See these articles).
Darwin himself didn’t cause the Holocaust and no one is saying he did. Darwinian theory, as promoted in Germany in the decades before Hitler took power, did strongly influence both the eugenics and race theories of the Nazis. The film shows that.
But do the facts even matter?
Reckless name-calling is all the rage. I see in the past couple of days that Bill Clinton is being called a “racist” and Hilary a “bigot.” Whatever the Clintons’ failings, those terms are simply false. Then there is the amusing kerfluffle on the Darwinist blogs, where a journalist and a film-maker are being called “creationists” because they acknowledge that Expelled already has been more successful at the box office than all but a few film documentaries. That is not the party line (which is that the film is a “flop”), so the two–both of them Darwinists!–are being sent to re-education camp. (Maybe they will be more careful themselves whom they call a “creationist” in the future.)
Caplan, in his article, has the nerve to term Stein’s work “McCarthyesque.” Yet McCarthyism as it was actually experienced was the application of the false label of “communist” to anyone on the Left one didn’t like. It was a smear. Caplan doesn’t like Stein, so he feels free to let his emotions–and his words–run riot.
I hope Stein gets equal time to answer Caplan’s slander.

Bruce Chapman

Cofounder and Chairman of the Board of Discovery Institute
Bruce Chapman has had a long career in American politics and public policy at the city, state, national, and international levels. Elected to the Seattle City Council and as Washington State's Secretary of State, he also served in several leadership posts in the Reagan administration, including ambassador. In 1991, he founded the public policy think tank Discovery Institute, where he currently serves as Chairman of the Board and director of the Chapman Center on Citizen Leadership.