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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Smithsonian tries to disown Privileged Planet, but will show it anyway

Predictably, the Smithsonian, assailed by Darwinbots, has decided, reversing an earlier decision that Privileged Planet “is not consistent with the mission of the Smithsonian Institution's scientific research”:

Statement by the Director, National Museum of Natural History

The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History recently approved a request by the Discovery Institute to hold a private, invitation-only screening and reception at the Museum on June 23 for the film "The Privileged Planet." Upon further review we have determined that the content of the film is not consistent with the mission of the Smithsonian Institution's scientific research. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the National Museum of Natural History supports or endorses the Discovery Institute or the film "The Privileged Planet." However, since Smithsonian policy states that all events held at any museum be "co-sponsored" by the director and the outside organization, and we have signed an agreement with this organization, we will honor the commitment made to provide space for the event.

[Funny they never noticed that before they started hearing from Darwinbots. The above item was brown bagged to me, so I do not yet have a link for it. But will post one as soon as I do. - Denyse]

(Note: If you are looking for an introduction to the uproar over the Smithsonian screening The Privileged Planet, go here and here to start. I will update the story as I hear new items of interest. - Denyse)

I call the outraged Darwinists “Darwinbots” because I’ll bet that most of them have never seen The Privileged Planet or considered grappling with the questions it raises about design and purpose in the universe.Einstein and Heisenberg grappled with these questions, but the matters that torment great thinkers are beneath the notice of Darwinbots, whose program does not, so far as I can see, contain an independent thinking module.

Admittedly, The Privileged Planet does not address the origin or development of life forms, but almost everyone who writes shockmail to the Smithsonian is likely to be a Darwinist. Who else would care to try to stop the showing of a film that suggests there is meaning, purpose and design in the universe?

Here’s a sample of some of the comments:

From the: Daily Kos “Words fail me. Sold out for $16,000? Contact the Smithsonian and let them know what you think:”

From Denyse: “... what you think?” But why should you “think” anything if you haven’t seen the film? Oh, wait a minute ... you’re a Darwinbot, right? Well then, baby, just iterate your program, like always. It’s not like anyone’s asking YOU for an opinion. You’re just supposed to assail the Smithsonian when the programmers tell you to.
From Red State Rabble, “as the posts at Discovery Institute and Post-Darwinist already demonstrate -- this supposed ‘sponsorship’ will be used in the political battle to incorporate intelligent design into public school curriculums by falsely insisting there’s a genuine scientific controversy over evolution, it is RSR’s opinion that defenders of science education should contact museum officials to complain that the museum’s “sponsorship” is being misrepresented and constitutes a violation of museum policy.”

From Denyse: “...falsely insisting there’s a genuine scientific controversy over evolution?” There is indeed a genuine scientific controversy over evolution and, dear reader, if you are not a Darwinbot or are at least willing to consider the possibility that you may not be one, I recommend that you get and read Uncommon Dissent: Individuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing.

If you definitely know that you are a Darwinbot, you should not get or read anything at all except the newsletters and blogs of people who reassure you that a 19th century upper-class Brit proved that there is no real purpose or meaning in the universe or the design of life. That’s good enough for YOU, ‘bot!

The Day Shift asks, “Why Does the Smithsonian Hate Science?” and advises, “Kremer, you dumbass - the whole point of the donation is to undermine the validity of scientific research in the collective mind of the public.”

From Denyse: Please be assured, ‘bot, that no one is suggesting that YOU should see the film before you condemn the showing. I had to see it because I am not a ‘bot. But you probably wouldn’t understand. Don’t worry about a thing, don’t worry, don’t ....

These are just a few of the first of such comments. It goes on for pages and pages, and who has the time?

Keep watching this space. This controversy is only beginning.

If you like this blog, "buy my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?, and help keep me in business. If you don’t think you’ll read it, buy it for your kid or your kid’s teacher.

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