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SSS 2008-04-18

时间:2010-05-13 06:52来源:互联网 提供网友:0922013129   字体: [ ]

This is Scientific American's 60-Second Science. Hi, Steve Mirsky. Here, I'm going over our usual one minute today.

By now you've probably heard of "Expelled", the new Ben Stein anti-evolution crocumentary. It officially opens today, as I speak that's April 18th. Because of my job, I've had the misfortune of sitting through this film twice now, at least I was getting paid. The film tries very hard to connect Darwin with the Holocaust1. Toward the end Stein reads the following quote from the book Descent of Man "with savages2, the weak in body or mind, are soon eliminated, we civilized3 man, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination4. We build asylums5 for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick, thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.” That's the end of the quote, and when he finishes reading the quote, Ben Stein intones the guilty verdict by naming the source--Charles Darwin.

Oh my! It sounds like Darwin actually did provide a rationale to the horrific practices of the Nazis6. Well, I've been covering the anti-evolution crowd for over twenty years. So I immediately suspected that the propaganda makers7 had engaged in what's called "quote mining". You examine the writings of somebody you want to smear8, and then selectively quote those portions that appear to make your point. I bet that whatever came immediately after the quoted portion would be something that Ben Stein wouldn't want you to hear. My research took all of about 3 minutes. I went to a full text of "Descent of Man" online and found the quoted passage, and then found the sentences that come right after where Ben Stein stopped quoting.


So here is Charles Darwin again from "Decent of Man": "The aid which we feel impelled9 to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered in the manner previously10 indicated more tender and more widely diffused11. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration12 in the noblest heart of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting13 for the good of his patient. But if we were intentionally14 to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent15 benefit within overwhelming present evil--leads to kind of the very opposite impression of Darwin that the film makers want you to take away.

Mind you none of this has anything to do with whether or not Darwin's scientific findings were correct, they were, but Ben Stein and his cronies, in their selective use of passages written by a great man, merely showed themselves to be so very small. We have a package of coverage16 about "Expelled", and its  misinformation at our website Sciam.com. Also check out a resource page put together by the National Center for Science Education 

For Scientific American's 60-Second Science, I'm Steve Mirsky.


1 holocaust dd5zE     
  • The Auschwitz concentration camp always remind the world of the holocaust.奥辛威茨集中营总是让世人想起大屠杀。
  • Ahmadinejad is denying the holocaust because he's as brutal as Hitler was.内贾德否认大屠杀,因为他像希特勒一样残忍。
2 savages 2ea43ddb53dad99ea1c80de05d21d1e5     
未开化的人,野蛮人( savage的名词复数 )
  • There're some savages living in the forest. 森林里居住着一些野人。
  • That's an island inhabited by savages. 那是一个野蛮人居住的岛屿。
3 civilized UwRzDg     
  • Racism is abhorrent to a civilized society. 文明社会憎恶种族主义。
  • rising crime in our so-called civilized societies 在我们所谓文明社会中日益增多的犯罪行为
4 elimination 3qexM     
  • Their elimination from the competition was a great surprise.他们在比赛中遭到淘汰是个很大的意外。
  • I was eliminated from the 400 metres in the semi-finals.我在400米半决赛中被淘汰。
5 asylums a7cbe86af3f73438f61b49bb3c95d31e     
n.避难所( asylum的名词复数 );庇护;政治避难;精神病院
  • No wonder Mama says love drives people into asylums. 难怪南蛮妈妈说,爱情会让人变成疯子。 来自互联网
6 Nazis 39168f65c976085afe9099ea0411e9a5     
n.(德国的)纳粹党员( Nazi的名词复数 );纳粹主义
  • The Nazis worked them over with gun butts. 纳粹分子用枪托毒打他们。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The Nazis were responsible for the mass murder of Jews during World War Ⅱ. 纳粹必须为第二次世界大战中对犹太人的大屠杀负责。 来自《简明英汉词典》
7 makers 22a4efff03ac42c1785d09a48313d352     
  • The makers of the product assured us that there had been no sacrifice of quality. 这一产品的制造商向我们保证说他们没有牺牲质量。
  • The makers are about to launch out a new product. 制造商们马上要生产一种新产品。 来自《简明英汉词典》
8 smear 6EmyX     
  • He has been spreading false stories in an attempt to smear us.他一直在散布谎言企图诽谤我们。
  • There's a smear on your shirt.你衬衫上有个污点。
9 impelled 8b9a928e37b947d87712c1a46c607ee7     
v.推动、推进或敦促某人做某事( impel的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He felt impelled to investigate further. 他觉得有必要作进一步调查。
  • I feel impelled to express grave doubts about the project. 我觉得不得不对这项计划深表怀疑。 来自《简明英汉词典》
10 previously bkzzzC     
  • The bicycle tyre blew out at a previously damaged point.自行车胎在以前损坏过的地方又爆开了。
  • Let me digress for a moment and explain what had happened previously.让我岔开一会儿,解释原先发生了什么。
11 diffused 5aa05ed088f24537ef05f482af006de0     
  • A drop of milk diffused in the water. 一滴牛奶在水中扩散开来。
  • Gases and liquids diffused. 气体和液体慢慢混合了。
12 deterioration yvvxj     
  • Mental and physical deterioration both occur naturally with age. 随着年龄的增长,心智和体力自然衰退。
  • The car's bodywork was already showing signs of deterioration. 这辆车的车身已经显示出了劣化迹象。
13 acting czRzoc     
  • Ignore her,she's just acting.别理她,她只是假装的。
  • During the seventies,her acting career was in eclipse.在七十年代,她的表演生涯黯然失色。
14 intentionally 7qOzFn     
  • I didn't say it intentionally. 我是无心说的。
  • The local authority ruled that he had made himself intentionally homeless and was therefore not entitled to be rehoused. 当地政府裁定他是有意居无定所,因此没有资格再获得提供住房。
15 contingent Jajyi     
  • The contingent marched in the direction of the Western Hills.队伍朝西山的方向前进。
  • Whether or not we arrive on time is contingent on the weather.我们是否按时到达要视天气情况而定。
16 coverage nvwz7v     
  • There's little coverage of foreign news in the newspaper.报纸上几乎没有国外新闻报道。
  • This is an insurance policy with extensive coverage.这是一项承保范围广泛的保险。
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