Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Ben Stein Withdraws

Ben Stein has withdrawn as the commencement speaker at the University of Vermont due to apparent public outcry over his association with creationism. The Burlington Free Press reports thus:

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.

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