The Politics of Restricting ID
|June 10, 2005||Posted by William Dembski under Education, Evolution, Intelligent Design|
What follows is a self-explanatory internet exchange. It reveals that evolutionists, in their rush to crush ID, are every bit as committed to political maneuvering as the most ardent supporter of the “Wedge.” The context is the showing of the video “The Privileged Planet” at the Smithsonian later this month (go here for details).
Sent: Monday, June 06, 2005 12:08 AM
Subject: Other: Thanks to the Smithsonian, a brushfire is out.
Dear Evoldir members,
As you may know, the Smithsonian Insitution’s National Museum of
Natural History has withdrawn its support of the ID-creationist movie
“The Privileged Planet” and has returned the $16,000 “donation” to the
Discovery Institute. I want to thank the many of you who wrote in to the
NMNH’s director, Christian Samper, and to share with you the response he
wrote in to everyone who emailed him:
“Thank you for your mail and for sharing your views. Enclosed
please find a statement issued by the Museum on June 1. National Museum
of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution 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 views of
the Discovery Institute or the film “The Privileged Planet.” 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 raccept a donation for it.”
When one of you wrote in thanking Samper for his actions, Samper wrote
the following response:
>My pleasure, I can further assure you we are taking steps to make sure
>this does not happen again.
So it looks as if we have won a small skirmish in the continuing battle
against ID. I suggest that it might be nice if we sent one more email
to Dr. Samper, thanking him for his action, which really is a
courageous one in today’s political climate.
His email address at the Smithsonian is: Samper.Cristian@nmnh.si.edu
Jerry Coyne [j -email@example.com]
Just so you know, “The Privileged Planet” will be shown at the Smithsonian on June 23rd. The only change is that the Smithsonian has returned $16,000 to the Discovery Institute to avoid co-sponsoring the event. That strikes me as a good deal:
(1) “The Privileged Planet” gets shown at the Smithsonian anyway.
(2) Discovery Institute saves $16,000, for use elsewhere.
(3) The controversy over the Smithsonian previously co-sponsoring the showing of this video gets national attention, thus giving lots of free advertising to the video and to the ID movement as a whole.
(4) By giving back the $16,000, the Smithsonian provides an object lesson in just how illiberal and narrow the mainstream academy is — Jerry Coyne being a case in point.
By the way, if you dispute this last point, thinking that this video doesn’t deserve better treatment (i.e., that it deserves to be dissed), consider that Guillermo Gonzalez, whose work is the principal focus of the video, is by any standard one of the top young astrophysicists — it’s easy enough for you to check out his credentials.