Evolution in the News - July 2005
by Do-While Jones

An Intelligent Decision

Not only did the Smithsonian show an Intelligent Design film, they showed it for free!

The Smithsonian Institute got itself in trouble by agreeing to show The Privileged Planet: The Search for Purpose in the Universe, produced by the Discovery Institute, which promotes Intelligent Design as an alternative to evolution and Biblical creationism.

In early April, the museum agreed to conduct a private screening of the film, in return for $16,000 and co-sponsorship, a requirement for all special events it hosts. 1

But then, evolutionists found out about it, and got the censorship machine rolling.

The episode has triggered a reexamination of the museum’s policies for screening such requests, which preclude events with a religious, political, or commercial message. An initial review by paleontologist Hans Dieter-Sues, [soon to be former? ] associate director for research and collections, came back clean, says museum spokesperson Randall Kremer. But the museum did a second review, Kremer says, “after we realized that people were interpreting our hosting of the event as an endorsement of the Discovery Institute’s views.” 2 [emphasis supplied]

IMAX films generally have very strong religious and political messages. Doesn’t the Smithsonian show those films?

[Museum director] Samper said the museum would “honor the commitment made to provide space for the event, but will not participate or accept a donation for it.” 3

Not only does the Discovery Institute get to show the film, they save $16,000, and get lots of free publicity. Sweet!

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1 Science, June 2005, Vol. 308, “Smithsonian Gives Grudging OK to Film Backing ID Argument” page 1526, https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.308.5728.1526a (Ev)
2 ibid.
3 ibid.