Summary of my reaction to Privileged Planet: To the stake with them all!
It is high time someone perpetrated a heresy like this, but of course they will have to go to the stake!
1. Privileged Planet is an excellent film and should be widely shown. It is a shame that the Smithsonian was scared into withdrawing its original support by a pack of yahoos who are a disgrace to a free society. The Smithsonian public affairs department should have begun every response to a complaint with “Have you seen the film? Can you describe what you are complaining about?” That would blow the Darwinbots off promptly. If the Smithsonian is indeed planning new policies, as reported, that should definitely be one.
Service note: If you are looking for the rest of my extended review of Privileged Planet, go here. If you are looking for information on the showing of Privileged Planet at the Smithsonian, go here and here to start, and then this one will bring you up to date. My extended review aims at determining exactly why the Washington Post thinks it is a “religious” film, or anyway, more so or in some different way than Carl Sagan's Cosmos.
2. The film is religious throughout in exactly the same sense as Carl Sagan’s Cosmos is religious. It makes and defends a statement about the nature of the universe. But the Church of St. Carl, whose doctrine is metaphysical naturalism (nature is without meaning or purpose) is the established religion of the educated elite in the United States. The Washington Post so totally accepts the Church of St. Carl’s teachings as a norm that they don’t even see them as religion. Those teachings are “just the way things are.” The Posties think that Privileged Planet is religion because it addresses the actual science evidence and comes to an opposite conclusion.
3. Science evidence doesn’t matter much to the Church of St. Carl. I suspect that that is because the evidence is mostly on Richards and Gonzalez’s side. But as long as the Church of St. Carl remains the United States’s established church, evidence will not be entertained.
4. While the film does not discuss evolution, it implies that evolution may not be fully naturalistic, purposeless, and accidental. It would be hard to overestimate how emotionally attached the Church of St. Carl’s members are to fully naturalistic evolution, even though the tide of evidence is running against it — or perhaps precisely because the tide of evidence is running against it.
I’m looking forward to the East Coast premiere at the Smithsonian on June 23, whether or not the Smithsonian likes it.
I personally believe that the Church of St. Carl should be disestablished for its own good. Science institutions should not be in the business of supporting only films that deny meaning and purpose and attempting to suppress films that document it.