SOURCE: Intelligence Squared U.S.

November 19, 2008 18:34 ET

New York Debate Audience Can't Decide if Google Is "Evil"

Prestigious Panelists Argue to a Draw

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - November 19, 2008) - Intelligence Squared U.S., the Oxford style debate series sponsored by The Rosenkranz Foundation, announced the results of its fourth debate of the Fall 2008 season, "Google violates its 'don't be evil' motto." A sold out audience at Rockefeller University's Caspary Auditorium, New York City voted 47% for the motion and 47% against at the conclusion of the debate. 6% were undecided, resulting in a tie, but with more of the undecided voters being swayed to the side arguing for the motion.

Speaking for the motion were Harry Lewis, former Dean of Harvard College and Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science at Harvard, Randal C. Picker, the Paul H. and Theo Leffmann Professor of Commercial Law at the University of Chicago Law School, and Siva Vaidhyanathan a cultural historian and media scholar, and an associate professor of media studies and law at the University of Virginia. Esther Dyson author of "Release 2.0: A Design for Living in the Digital Age," Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute and Jeff Jarvis author of the upcoming book, "What Would Google Do?" spoke against the motion. John Donvan, a correspondent for ABC News "Nightline," moderated.

A full transcript of the debate will be available at

Key excerpts from the debate include:

"To find that Google is evil, you have to find that people who cut in line are evil. You have to find that bruised apples are evil. You have to find that flat tires are evil. These things are not evil. Evil is Hitler. Evil is Stalin. Evil is Pol Pot. Evil is... Dr. Evil. Google is not evil." -- Jim Harper, Cato Institute

"Google didn't choose the lesser of two evils when faced with the Chinese ultimatum; it chose the more profitable of the two evils... Google had a choice between morality and money, and it chose money." -- Harry Lewis, Harvard University

Intelligence Squared U.S. polls its audience on each motion before and after the debate. At the start of Tuesday's debate, the audience voted 21% for the motion that "Google violates its 'don't be evil' motto," with 31% against and 48%, nearly half, undecided.

To view transcripts and videos or learn more about Intelligence Squared U.S. please visit:

About Intelligence Squared U.S. and The Rosenkranz Foundation

Intelligence Squared U.S. is a New York-based initiative of The Rosenkranz Foundation; the executive producer is Dana Wolfe. Designed to raise the level of public discourse, the Oxford style, three-on-three debate series is the U.S. version of a London-based program. Since September 2006, the series has attracted sold-out crowds in New York City. Intelligence Squared U.S. provides a forum for intelligent discussion and encourages the recognition that the opposition has intellectually respectable views. For more information about Intelligence Squared U.S., please visit

The Rosenkranz Foundation was established in 1985 to encourage the highest level of achievement and innovation in public policy, higher education and the arts. It seeks to promote fresh and effective intellectual perspectives. The foundation is committed to promoting intellectual diversity in public policy discourse and higher education. For more information about The Rosenkranz Foundation, please visit

Contact Information