Monday, March 10, 2008

That Multi-Talented Ben Stein

Ben Stein, who writes a column on “economics” for the New York Times, also displays his credentials in “science” in the forthcoming film “Expelled”. Stein, we are told, interviews believers in “intelligent design” who say they have been denigrated by the scientific and educational establishment. We know that Stein has been the brunt of quite a bit of criticism, especially from Brad DeLong, but his grasp of economics is not inferior to his chops as an evolutionary biologist.

My favorite howler from this article was the following Stein quote: “there’s just a lot of people who don’t believe that big science and Darwinism should have a stranglehold on academic life....” Yes, big science is the problem. We need small, innovative start-up sciences that aren’t tied down by, you know, peer-reviewed journals and experimental protocols. Biology, geology, they’re just cruising on their legacy market share. With a good business plan and access to the right angels, a neo-biblical venture could be really competitive.


Shag from Brookline said...

At the end of Ben Stein's NYTimes columns a quick and dirty CV is provided, the shorter version of which might be: "Jerk of all trades, master of none." After his role in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, it's been all downhill as he has fallen off his late father's coattails.

Ken Houghton said...

I have a friend who has, on many occasions, offered to head a VC fund to invest in the scientific developments that come from ID research.

He has even volunteered to do it for only a base salary of $1MM a year. (I think he should insist on getting 10-15% of the net profits as well, otherwise people will confuse him with Lee Teabing in The Da Vinci Code.)