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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Updates for Privileged Planet showing at the Smithsonian

Later today, I will post a review of The Privileged Planet.

For the record, I am an independent Canadian journalist (a freelancer), this is my own opinion, and I do not work for either the production company or Discovery Institute or, so far as I know, anyone else who had anything to do with it.

The review will give you a pretty good idea what is and isn't in the film. I will also try to guess which parts the Washington Post’s editorial board considers "religious" and which parts of the "wrap-up" Smithsonian spokesman Randall Kremer says his bosses “part ways” with.

If any of these folks have explained that somewhere, it will be interesting to see how my guesses compare with their explanations.
(Note: If you came here looking for basic information on the uproar over the Smithsonian screening of an ID-friendly film, The Privileged Planet, go here and here to start. Then, for best service, go here. I continue to update the story as I hear new items of interest. Also, many of the blogs on the right do the same.)

Screenwriter Jonathan Witt notes that in 1997, the Smithsonian presented Cosmos Revisited: A Series Presented in the Memory of Carl Sagan, 10/14 - 12/2/1997 He comments, “Sagan’s Cosmos series is famous for its opening dictum, The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” and asks, “Why didn’t the Smithsonian have a problem promoting this little philosophical flourish?” Well, another one for my burgeoning "double standard" files.

By the way, here’s Discovery Institute’s response to the Post editorial, linked above.

A curious twist in this byzantine story is that, if you go back to my post of May 27, it is clear that Discovery had only wanted to rent the space in the first place, and was not even trying to get the Smithsonian to co-sponsor the film.

Discovery chief Bruce Chapman makes that point in "his response: “The writer had seen a copy of the letter from the Smithsonian declaring its co-sponsorship and she knew from several sources that the co-sponsorship was not sought by Discovery, but actually was required by the Smithsonian. That the Museum withdrew a gift that was never requested fails to draw her interest at all.”

Interestingly, this blog The Post-Darwinist records all this from a time when it was a disputed interpretation. Maybe that's one reason people read blogs.

Also, from what I can see from the Smithsonian’s official statement of June 1, they will indeed be screening the film for free: “Given that the Discovery Institute has already issued invitations, we will honor the commitment made to provide space for the event, but will not participate or accept a donation for it.”

Presumably, they cannot just accept rent? (Yo, American taxpayers.)

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