US Raelian Bishop's Open Letter to Ben Stein

13 May, 2008
 None    Philosophy

Science saves life

Rickyrn Dear Ben, I hope you'll forgive me for asking too much of your time to read this...and thank you so, so much!

Big congrats on your movie. I'm a long time fan. I've always enjoyed your dry wit and copious knowledge of the world around us. I just read something you were quoted as saying that surprised me, even shocking me since I have always held you in such high esteem. It was supposedly quoted from an interview with Paul Crouch, Jr. on Crouch’s Trinity Broadcasting Network when speaking about your movie "Expelled".

You were quoted as saying "When we just saw that man, I think it was Mr. 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." Then you were quoted as saying "…Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people." Maybe you were quoted out of context. (this was in this blog in case you need to correct them)

If the quote above was accurate, and I believe it is because it's stated in your usual respectful tone, I could not agree more with your comments on love, compassion and empathy - and that some scientists are quite full of themselves. ;-)

At the same time, I hope you will allow me to offer you another perspective by pointing out the fact that it's not scientists who are bad. Science and technology are always good. It's the way in which they are used which needs to be judged good or bad. It's always the politicians and military which abuse science and the scientists. The car was invented and governments made it into a tank. Antibiotics were created and governments made biological weapons. Atomic energy was discovered ...etc.

It's not the scientists who are bad. It's those who abuse their work who are the problem.
If not for scientists, it's very possible you or I would not be alive either because our ancestors, you or I would have died from the simplest infection. One can use stones to build a synagogue or church - or they can throw the stones at others. One can use a pencil to write words of love and compassion or they can use it to stab someone in the eye. It's not the stone or pencil (or the man who invented it) that are the problem. The problem is in the mind of the person using the pencil or the stone. If someone harms another person, they lack the love and compassion you speak of. But science is not the culprit. We should not condemn the hand just because it can strike another person. We need to, instead, place more importance on love and compassion in the one who possesses the hand.
As you said, if a person loves God and also applies compassion and empathy, this is good. There is, however, also a myth there in that this belief also facilitates violent fanaticism because this whole paradigm tolerates books like the Torah, New Testament and Koran - all of which condone and even glorify killing and revenge while claiming to teach love and compassion. These two ideals are mutually exclusive. Love and fear cannot exist in the same mind at the same time. We can see that Western religion does not place nearly enough importance on compassion and empathy. This is easy to see since there has been many more people killed in the name of God than anything on Earth - grossly more than people who were killed in the name of science. The belief in God has caused millions of people to abuse science.

Heck, if one adds them up, God even killed well over 2 million people Himself as recorded in the Old Testament.

It is the scientists who have made our lives longer, improved the mortality rate by creating insulin, antibiotics, blood transfusions, surgery etc. The scalpel can heal or kill. The difference lies in the mind of the ones we allow to use the scalpel.

Thank you for allowing me to offer what I hope to be respectful and reasonable criticism of your remarks and to remind you that your words have a lot of effect on people. Personally, I am a "religious atheist". I am Raelian. I believe, like you, in Elohim but not in a God. :-)

Thank you so much for your time!


ricky roehr
President North American Raelian Movement

PS: In the end, while we may disagree on the above, maybe we could agree that the problem lies in the fact that not enough people apply love, compassion and empathy - but I still think that science has saved a lot more lives than God has - and - taken a lot less lives than the Torah touts. ;-)

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