April 24, 2009
Does the AAUP Uphold Academic Freedom for All, or Just for Some?

[Note: For a more comprehensive defense of Ben Stein's documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, please see: NCSE Exposed at NCSEExposed.org]

Where was the American Association of University Professors when Richard Dawkins led an unruly internet mob to get Ben Stein's invitation to speak at the University of Vermont rescinded? They were stone cold silent as Stein was kicked to the curb by UV president Daniel Fogel, at the behest of Dawkins and other intolerant Darwinsts.

Now the AAUP has the nerve to issue a statement warning schools not to rescind invitations to outside speakers. General Secretary Gary Rhoades writes:

The opportunity to be confronted with diverse opinions is at the core of academic freedom, which is vital to a free society and a quality education. The AAUP will continue to work to ensure such academic freedom.
Somehow, I doubt it. They didn't defend Stein, but now they are defending Dawkins' right to speak at universities — which we did as well.

I e-mailed Mr. Rhoades

Continue reading "Does the AAUP Uphold Academic Freedom for All, or Just for Some?" »

February 19, 2009
What Is Hypocrisy, After All?

I’ve been corresponding with Nicolas Gotelli, a University of Vermont biologist. When I received his response to my initial email, I thought it was so ridiculous and hypocritical that I said to myself, Wouldn’t it be amusing to publish this on ENV? Then I reflected disappointedly, No, it’s a private correspondence, that would be unethical! I can’t do it without his permission and, since he’d have to be pretty thoughtless to allow someone to reprint his hysterically bristling letter, it’s not worth asking.

Luckily, Professor Gotelli has solved my problem for me. He promptly and without seeking permission sent our emails off to PZ Myers, who immediately published them on Pharyngula. You can read the correspondence there. Thank you, gentlemen.

Gotelli is the fellow who wrote an op-ed in the Burlington Free Press expressing the view that it was only proper that UVM should cancel Ben Stein as graduation speaker because the popular entertainer is also a “notorious advocate of intelligent design” who maintains that Darwinian ideas had deadly consequences in the form of Nazi racist ideology (only too true). Gotelli asserted it was appropriate to invite “controversial” speakers to campus, since “one of the best ways to refute intellectually bankrupt ideas is to expose them to the light of day.” But a commencement speaker is someone special, Gotelli went on, someone chosen for his peer-reviewed scholarship.

Someone, it turns out, like the widely published scholar Howard Dean, to whom UVM turned next and who will deliver the commencement address. What, as one online reader of Gotelli’s op-ed plaintively asked, “Was Daffy Duck unavailable?”

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February 6, 2009
University of Vermont Biology Prof: Ben Stein Has No Peer-Reviewed Scientific Research!

This keeps getting better and better. First the University of Vermont announces that they've replaced Ben Stein with Howard Dean (yes, that Howard Dean) as their commencement speaker.

Then UVM biology prof Nick Gotelli writes an opinion piece in the Burlington Free Press arguing that Stein is unqualified to be a commencement speaker because he has no peer-reviewed scientific scholarship.

I kid you not:

The real issue is not political correctness, but scholarship. I will leave it to my colleagues in the economics department to weigh in on Stein's scholastic achievements as an economist. As far as the sciences go, I am unaware of a single publication by Stein that has appeared in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. In the sciences, these peer-reviewed journal articles are the currency by which we judge all scholars, and they form the basis for job offers, promotions and advancement in academia.

Stein's ideas are widely discredited by reputable academic scholars as well as by the mainstream media, and that is the real reason we don't want him to represent us on graduation day.

Hey, if the mainstream media says it, it must be true! Good thing UVM now has that paragon of scientific research, Howard Dean, to restore their honor.

February 4, 2009
Puppetmaster Richard Dawkins Pulls Strings to Get Revenge on Ben Stein

[Note: For a more comprehensive rebuttal to critics of Ben Stein's documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, please see: NCSE Exposed at NCSEExposed.org]

Alas, poor Richard. Out of a job, and still twitching from Ben Stein's unveiling of his pro-intelligent design tendencies in Expelled last year, he apparently spends his time dogging Ben Stein's heels. Here's how a fawning university president gushed about getting an e-mail from Dawkins telling him to bounce Stein as a commencement speaker later this year.

Is the correspondence between you and Professor Richard Dawkins authentic?

Fogel: It is authentic; I admire his work greatly. I have read his work and I have been deeply instructed by it., as I said to him. I was really quite honored to have an e-mail from him directly.

What was the first e-mail from him about?

Fogel: It was to discuss his dismay and concern along the lines we have already discussed.

And also to give me some of his more person background that I had certainly been unaware of. I did not know that he was shown in the movie ‘Expelled’ and that he had been manipulated by the producers and that his words had been used out of context.

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University of Vermont President Engages in Double-Speak and Double-Standards When It Comes to Disavowing Pro-Intelligent Design Commencement Speaker Ben Stein

Let your voice be heard: If you think it was wrong for Ben Stein to be pushed out as this year’s commencement speaker at University of Vermont, send a message to University President Daniel Fogel at Daniel.Fogel@uvm.edu or 802-656-3186.

Apologizing for inviting gifted actor and writer Ben Stein to be commencement speaker at the University of Vermont, University President Daniel Fogel has highlighted what he called Stein’s “highly controversial views” about “evolutionary theory, intelligent design, and the role of science in the Holocaust.” Fogel went on to express penance for inviting Stein by claiming that “Commencement should be a time when our community gathers inclusively, not divisively.”

I guess inclusivity is why in 2007 Fogel chose as commencement speaker Democratic congressman John Lewis, who in 1995 compared Republicans to Nazis (last year Lewis compared John McCain and Sarah Palin to segregationist George Wallace and racist church bombers). Or perhaps President Fogel’s concern for inclusivity is better demonstrated by his 2006 commencement speaker, Gustavo Esteva, a far-left activist and advisor to the radical Zapatista National Liberation Army in Mexico.

In today’s academic double-speak, invitations to far-left revolutionaries and race-baiting Congressmen are apparently “inclusive,” while inviting a speaker who favors free speech on the issue of evolution is beyond the pale.

Of course, it’s being reported that Stein withdrew as the university’s commencement speaker “voluntarily.” “Voluntarily,” that is, after he received a phone call from Dr. Fogel likely making clear he was no longer welcome. Given Fogel’s subsequent disavowal of inviting Stein in the first place, it’s pretty obvious that his phone call was designed to elicit Stein’s withdrawal. Fogel’s spinelessness in the face of the Darwinist thought-police is equaled only by his tone-deafness to his own rhetoric. After disowning Stein, Fogel has continued to insist: “I am firm in my belief—profoundly held—that, as a university, UVM is and must remain a marketplace of ideas.” Fogel's ideal marketplace must have a lot of empty shelves.

February 3, 2009
Darwin Defenders Get Ben Stein Expelled from University of Vermont’s Commencement Address

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Ben Stein “has withdrawn from an engagement to speak at the University of Vermont’s spring commencement after his invitation drew complaints about his views on biological evolution.” The article reports: “According to the Burlington Free Press, the vast majority of protesters were not affiliated with the University of Vermont; only ‘about a half dozen’ objections came from the campus.” So why did protests about Stein start pouring in from outside the University of Vermont (UVM)? The answer seems clear: Stein’s invitation to speak at UVM was first raised to the Darwinist community in a post by PZ Myers titled, “University of Vermont makes an embarrassing decision.” Given the large following of PZ’s blog, this undoubtedly resulted in readers who were “not affiliated with the University of Vermont” sending e-mails protesting Stein’s involvement.

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