#6: Ben Stein
Remember when we all knew Ben Stein as the teacher on "The Wonder Years," by his show on Comedy Central called "Win Ben Stein's Money," or at least by him routinely cleaning up on celebrity editions of quiz shows?
Remember how all these combined to give the impression that Ben Stein was actually a pretty smart guy?
Boy do those days seem a long way off.
For a long time, Stein did maintain that appearance, even as he continued to court an increasingly hardline and pro-stupidity Republican Party. He defended Larry Craig's sexuality as a non-issue, and even criticized the U.S. tax code as being too lenient on the wealthy.
Then, taking many completely by surprise, he criticized Barack Obama for accepting the Democratic nomination at Denver's Invesco Field.
The location had been chosen in order to make the acceptance speech more inclusive to what was, by then, a very large and very enthusiastic majority.
Stein, on the other hand, attributed the location to narcissism, and followed his deduction with this incredible gem of immaturity:
"That is not the way we do things in political parties in the United States of America. We have a contained number of people in an arena. Seventy-five thousand people at an outdoor sports palace? Well that's something the Führer would have done."
Forget the fact that G.O.P. had toyed with the idea of having George W. Bush give his 2004 acceptance speech at Yankee Stadium, or that all the NBA games were stopped the night he announced the invasion of Iraq so the speech could be broadcast on the jumbotrons.
All that matters is how quick Ben Stein leaped to compare Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler.
This wasn't just one isolated incident either. In fact, Stein followed it up with an absolute whopper the following year.
In 2008, Ben Stein, once thought to be a very intelligent, or at least level-headed guy, suddenly appeared in a "documentary" called "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed."
The safest assumption to make about the film's title is that it refers to the unforgivable stupidity of the arguments it attempts to make.
The entire film is a blatant shill for intelligent design. It portrays it as motivated by science, rather than religion, though it fails to give a detailed definition or attempt to explain it on a scientific level.
Instead, Stein's argument hinges on a notion that the scientific theory of evolution is directly responsible for the rise of fascism and the Holocaust.
In an interview with Paul Crouch Jr. of the Trinity Broadcasting Network about the movie, Ben Stein, a man once considered by many to be the smartest man in Hollywood, actually said the following:
"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."
"Love of God and compassion and empathy," he continued, "leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people."
It might have helped if Stein had actually done a little research on Hitler before trying to tie evolutionary theory to him (even a brief look on Wikipedia would have sufficed). In his speeches, Hitler frequently affirmed his Christianity and promoted a purging of Jewish elements from Christianity which he called "positive Christianity."
Not that it matters in the long run. The very act of making the Nazi comparisons to begin with was irresponsible enough.
Comparing anyone to Adolf Hitler, or anything to Nazi Germany, is one of the most blatant telltale signs possible that someone is seriously lacking in intellectual maturity.
Stein didn't just cross this threshold. For he and the rest of his ilk who participated in the Expelled "documentary," it was their starting point.
Ben Stein's intelligence will never be questioned ever again. It has been proven completely nonexistent beyond a shadow of a doubt.