The choice of media personality Ben Stein as commencement speaker at the University of Vermont generated such a furor that Stein backed out, UVM President Dan Fogel confirmed Monday.
Fogel picked Stein largely because Stein had received an enthusiastic response from students at a lecture at UVM last spring. That talk, part of the Kalkin Lecture Series, focused on economic issues. "It was on the basis of that experience that I extended him an invitation to be our commencement speaker," Fogel said in a written statement issued Monday.Even Richard Dawkins noticed. I find this troubling in that it is likely that Stein would have spoken about economics, a subject of which he knows quite a bit and not about ID. On the other hand, the film was so heavy-handed and one-sided that it pretty much hacked off the entire academic community. The reaction seems over the top, nonetheless.