Orlando Sentinel – What is Ben Stein afraid of? by Roger Moore

Roger Moore asks,

What is Ben Stein afraid of?

That’s his headline for a column in today’s Orlando Sentinel.

It’s funny, really. Ben Stein knew going into this that there would be controversy, antagonism, even ridicule. That’s what Expelled is about. Does Moore think he just suddenly, at this late date, discovered there might be some opposition out there? When he signed up for this was he acting like someone controlled by fear?

Moore said the press conference call last week was “over-controlled.” I have no experience with other press conference calls. I do know that if all callers had been able to speak, it would have been nothing but noise and a complete waste of time. Could they have invited a handful of reporters to speak? I don’t know. Maybe. Would P.Z. Myers have been a good choice as an impartial representative of the press? You can answer that as well as I.

Moore links to Ned Potter’s ABC Science and Society report on the press conference. Potter links to the invitation Myers received for the press conference–the Panda’s Thumb version, that is, the one that completely misrepresents the invitation. Potter also links to Myers’s version of the call. Nice, balanced coverage represented there.

What is Ben Stein afraid of? He’s not afraid of the controversy, that’s for sure. Unbalanced reporting like this has characterized this debate for years, and he knew it going in.

Comments

  1. Tom Gilson

    Note on comments: I\’ve closed comments on previous posts that addressed that blog post at Panda\’s Thumb. I\’m not doing that this time (yet).
    Someone emailed me to challenge me on why I closed comments on those other posts. He said I was \”closed to facts.\” I answered:

    I\’m very interested in facts, but as I said when I closed the comments, I wasn\’t interested in spending my whole weekend responding as one man to potentially dozens of people coming over from Pharyngula and PT to challenge me as you have here. That, too, is a fact. As you can see [referencing his email and an earlier portion of my reply], there are answers [factual corrections, actually] to what you wrote. But this blog is not my full-time job. It\’s a one-man side occupation, and there are limits to what one person can do.

    There are still limits. I have deadlines today on two projects that are completely unrelated to all this. I\’m going to try to keep comments open if possible.
    From the beginning, this blog\’s comment policies have limited discussion to what is germane to the post. This post is about the Expelled conference call, it\’s about Ben Stein\’s motivation for handling it as he did, and it\’s about Myers\’s interruption. It is not about whether ID is science or religion, it is not about whether ID is creationism, it\’s not about whether it should be taught in public schools, and it\’s not even about whether Expelled is going to be great or a fraud. There are places to debate all that, and in fact we have done it often (and at great length) on this blog. This post is about the conference call. Comments that attempt to open up other topics or that violate other discussion policies will be deleted in their entirety, at my discretion, without further explanation. Discussion will remain open as long as that works. If I should decide to close comments later in the day, it will be because I have run into a limit in what I can monitor here while also doing my other work.
    In other words, if later today I close comments, it will not be because of what I\’m afraid of. It\’s because if there are errors of fact, or if there are challenges presented that could be answered, I take responsibility to answer rather than to leave those things hanging out there with no response. I\’ll risk the ridicule of being called afraid rather than leave such comments without a proper answer.
    If you explore older posts in this blog, you\’ll see that there is a whole lot of discussion going on between theists and atheists. I welcome that kind of debate and disagreement as long as it\’s on topic and civil.
    So if I do close comments later today, I\’ll ask you in advance to recognize there\’s a real person here with a real life, to avoid the temptation to stereotype, and to represent what I actually say rather than assume something else is going on, with nothing but your own prior perceptions (prejudices) regarding ID proponents as evidence.

  2. AxisofJared

    Tom, I know you\’re not a fan of ad hominem arguments. So why bang away on the EXPELLED\’s main theme of evolution = nazis? (I realize that\’s oversimplified)

    Isn\’t all of that just an ad hominem argument? What if Darwinism did contribute to genocide? Does that mean it\’s suddenly a false theory?

    Shouldn\’t you be banning some of your own blog posts based on your Discussion Policy?

  3. AxisofJared

    Sorry, Tom, I didn\’t mean to say that you were the one harping on the theme. It is the EXPELLED movie that does this. I\’m just pointing out that you certainly are a supporter of EXPELLED\’s claims, so any post in support of them is in support of an ad hominem argument, which you usually frown upon.

    Darwinism\’s (purported) ties to Hitler do not change the truth of Darwinism. That\’s ad hominem.

    This will be the last of my comments on this post – if you\’d like to respond, would you kindly link to a post of yours that you find more appropriate? I will gladly continue there.

  4. AxisofJared

    Cool, looking forward to it.

    IMO, Darwinism\’s influence on Hitler/Nazis is incredibly tenuous compared to Christian-Antisemitism, and I hope you address that topic as well when you write about the Nazi connection.

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