Comedian Ben Stein cancels Vermont sp...

Comedian Ben Stein cancels Vermont speech in evolution row

There are 126 comments on the TwinCities.com story from Feb 4, 2009, titled Comedian Ben Stein cancels Vermont speech in evolution row. In it, TwinCities.com reports that:

Comedian Ben Stein has withdrawn as the University of Vermont's commencement speaker because of complaints about his critical views on evolution in favor of intelligent design.

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WSP

Saint Paul, MN

#1 Feb 4, 2009
Let's be honest. Republicans are not welcome in academic settings, and Stein is a Republican.
Fossil Bob

Urbana, IL

#2 Feb 4, 2009
WSP wrote:
Let's be honest. Republicans are not welcome in academic settings, and Stein is a Republican.
He is also clueless about academic subjects like evolution...
Trevor

Minneapolis, MN

#3 Feb 4, 2009
WSP wrote:
Let's be honest. Republicans are not welcome in academic settings, and Stein is a Republican.
Well not to put too fine a point on it, but Mr. Stein was welcome, it was Mr. Stein who withdrew himself.

It seems to me that the article indicates that Mr. Stein was not willing to go someplace where they engaged in debate about his views--really the purpose of an academic institution.

As a conservative Republican myself, I find that many of the people who share my beliefs are intimidated by college and university settings. Through my work, I am frequently asked to speak in college settings and I am always happy to share my viewpoints. Students treat me with respect even though they are vehemently opposed to what I say.

I think I change some minds, and I think I at least sharpen the arguments of those who oppose my views.

I have a lot of respect for Mr. Stein and have worked with him in the past. I feel in this case, his withdrawl was because it wasn't wort the hassle. I think that's too bad for him--because he engages quite well and appears to have chickened out. I am sorry for the students because they are losing an important chance to hear a leading conservative.

Since: Nov 08

Minneapolis, MN

#4 Feb 4, 2009
Fossil Bob wrote:
<quoted text>
He is also clueless about academic subjects like evolution...

Evolution does not 'disprove' intelligent design. The two can co-exist. Many feel evolution disproves the existence of god, so evolution is sort of a religion to them, and they get hot under the collar when someone claims there is a god.

Since: Nov 08

Boise, ID

#5 Feb 4, 2009
Trevor wrote:
<quoted text>
Well not to put too fine a point on it, but Mr. Stein was welcome, it was Mr. Stein who withdrew himself.
It seems to me that the article indicates that Mr. Stein was not willing to go someplace where they engaged in debate about his views--really the purpose of an academic institution.
Quite ironic, isn't it? Ben Stein was the face for the movie "Expelled" which accused the scientific community of stifling debate. So what do they do when they are given a chance for this debate? They run away.
I have a lot of respect for Mr. Stein and have worked with him in the past. I feel in this case, his withdrawl was because it wasn't wort the hassle. I think that's too bad for him--because he engages quite well and appears to have chickened out. I am sorry for the students because they are losing an important chance to hear a leading conservative.
With the new Nixon movie out I would think that he could do some talks on his years as a Nixon speech writer. That would seem to be a topic that would at least be interesting to the entire spectrum of political views.

Since: Nov 08

Boise, ID

#6 Feb 4, 2009
Centinel wrote:
<quoted text>
Evolution does not 'disprove' intelligent design.
The problem is that nothing is capable of disproving intelligent design. That is why it is not science. ID is incapable of making testable predictions.
Many feel evolution disproves the existence of god, so evolution is sort of a religion to them, and they get hot under the collar when someone claims there is a god.
Of all the atheists that I have talked to, and my own views as an atheist, our disbelief in God has nothing to do with the findings of science. Our disbelief is based on a lack of evidence for the existence of God. That's it.

“I'm not crying... Winning!”

Since: Oct 08

Twin Cities, USA

#7 Feb 4, 2009
Seems pretty silly to me. It is a commencement speech for crying out loud.
Fossil Bob

Urbana, IL

#8 Feb 4, 2009
Centinel wrote:
<quoted text>
Evolution does not 'disprove' intelligent design. The two can co-exist. Many feel evolution disproves the existence of god, so evolution is sort of a religion to them, and they get hot under the collar when someone claims there is a god.
True... some feel that way.

And far more feel that "evolution disproves the existence of God" and ignorantly "throw out" evolutionary biology (despite not knowing anything about the subject!:)

The claims made in Stein's movie have been throughly refuted... There is little fact presented, and much fiction and nonsense.
Trevor

Minneapolis, MN

#9 Feb 4, 2009
Erasmus05 wrote:
<quoted text>
Quite ironic, isn't it? Ben Stein was the face for the movie "Expelled" which accused the scientific community of stifling debate. So what do they do when they are given a chance for this debate? They run away.
The irony was not lost on me; I was trying to be kind to our side. It's hard sometimes, though, when they do stuff like this.

There is plenty of substance to conservative beliefs; you and I being reasonable people, who likely disagree on almost everything, can still have an intelligent debate.

What bothers me is when either side uses "talking Points" instead of facts to back up their assertions. Our side does it at least as much as the liberal side. We all need to stop, research and discuss things rationally and supported by facts.

My favorite college professor was a Birkenstock-wearing, volvo-driving, draft-dodging, church-hating pinko. But he taught me well. On my desk, I have an engraved quotation from him: "What is your DATA, Trevor? Without data you are just another a**h*** with an opinion."
Large Carbon Footprint

Minneapolis, MN

#10 Feb 4, 2009
Fossil Bob wrote:
<quoted text>
He is also clueless about academic subjects like evolution...
If liberals want to claim that they evolved from apes, who are we to question them? After all, they'd know more about their own family tree than we would.
Trevor

Minneapolis, MN

#11 Feb 4, 2009
Large Carbon Footprint wrote:
<quoted text>
If liberals want to claim that they evolved from apes, who are we to question them? After all, they'd know more about their own family tree than we would.
QED.
Fossil Bob

Urbana, IL

#12 Feb 4, 2009
Large Carbon Footprint wrote:
<quoted text>
If liberals want to claim that they evolved from apes, who are we to question them? After all, they'd know more about their own family tree than we would.
And that's about the intellectual level scientists expect to encounter from folks like you:)
Trevor

Minneapolis, MN

#13 Feb 4, 2009
Fossil Bob wrote:
<quoted text>
And that's about the intellectual level scientists expect to encounter from folks like you:)
QED II

Since: Nov 08

Boise, ID

#14 Feb 4, 2009
Trevor wrote:
<quoted text>
The irony was not lost on me; I was trying to be kind to our side. It's hard sometimes, though, when they do stuff like this.
There is plenty of substance to conservative beliefs; you and I being reasonable people, who likely disagree on almost everything, can still have an intelligent debate.
What bothers me is when either side uses "talking Points" instead of facts to back up their assertions. Our side does it at least as much as the liberal side. We all need to stop, research and discuss things rationally and supported by facts.
My favorite college professor was a Birkenstock-wearing, volvo-driving, draft-dodging, church-hating pinko. But he taught me well. On my desk, I have an engraved quotation from him: "What is your DATA, Trevor? Without data you are just another a**h*** with an opinion."
The problem with Ben Stein's foray into science is that one should not politicize a scientific debate. That is exactly what ID proponents are trying to do. This is not a liberal v. conservative debate. This is a science debate.
The Dude

UK

#15 Feb 4, 2009
Trevor wrote:
There is plenty of substance to conservative beliefs; you and I being reasonable people, who likely disagree on almost everything, can still have an intelligent debate.
What bothers me is when either side uses "talking Points" instead of facts to back up their assertions. Our side does it at least as much as the liberal side. We all need to stop, research and discuss things rationally and supported by facts.
Of course, evolution is science whether one is Liberal or Conservative. The same way that water boils at 100 degrees C. It doesn't care what political affiliation you are.
The Dude

UK

#16 Feb 4, 2009
Large Carbon Footprint wrote:
<quoted text>
If liberals want to claim that they evolved from apes, who are we to question them? After all, they'd know more about their own family tree than we would.
And this would be an example of a "talking point" with little validity to it.
The Dude

UK

#17 Feb 4, 2009
Erasmus05 wrote:
<quoted text>
The problem with Ben Stein's foray into science is that one should not politicize a scientific debate. That is exactly what ID proponents are trying to do. This is not a liberal v. conservative debate. This is a science debate.
Except it's not a science debate for the IDers. It's political, always has been, always will be. They don't care about science. They never have. They simply want the right to teach their religious opinions in public schools. So they invent "us vs them" scenarios's - Liberals vs Conservatives, religious people vs atheists.

If it were otherwise, they'd put ID "science" in for peer-review. Or even research it themselves.

Of course, they've done neither.

“REUNITE GONDWANALAND!”

Since: Jun 08

Woodbury

#18 Feb 4, 2009
Large Carbon Footprint wrote:
<quoted text>
If liberals want to claim that they evolved from apes, who are we to question them? After all, they'd know more about their own family tree than we would.
There you go again, displaying your ignorance about evolution. NO ONE is claiming humans evolved from apes. Didn't anyone ever explain to you that, in order to debate successfully, you first need to understand the opposing side?

“Turning coffee into theorems”

Since: Dec 06

Trapped inside a Klein Bottle

#19 Feb 4, 2009
Fossil Bob wrote:
<quoted text>
He is also clueless about academic subjects like evolution...
He has a degree in economics, and seems rather clueless about that, too.

“Turning coffee into theorems”

Since: Dec 06

Trapped inside a Klein Bottle

#20 Feb 4, 2009
Trevor wrote:
<quoted text>
Well not to put too fine a point on it, but Mr. Stein was welcome, it was Mr. Stein who withdrew himself.
It seems to me that the article indicates that Mr. Stein was not willing to go someplace where they engaged in debate about his views--really the purpose of an academic institution.
As a conservative Republican myself, I find that many of the people who share my beliefs are intimidated by college and university settings. Through my work, I am frequently asked to speak in college settings and I am always happy to share my viewpoints. Students treat me with respect even though they are vehemently opposed to what I say.
I think I change some minds, and I think I at least sharpen the arguments of those who oppose my views.
I have a lot of respect for Mr. Stein and have worked with him in the past. I feel in this case, his withdrawl was because it wasn't wort the hassle. I think that's too bad for him--because he engages quite well and appears to have chickened out. I am sorry for the students because they are losing an important chance to hear a leading conservative.
Scientists, conservative, liberal, or middle of the road, took great exception to Stein's comment, "science leads you to killing people", made during promotion of "Expelled".

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