Smithsonian Institution Statement

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Cristián Samper Wrote:

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.

3 TrackBacks

Burt Humburg got the good news from the Smithsonian: 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, invi... Read More

Beautiful Response from Respectful Insolence on June 2, 2005 6:56 AM

Now, via Panda's Thumb, comes a report of the Smithsonian's response to the Smithsonian... Read More

Better Than Nothing from The Benjo Blog on June 2, 2005 9:33 AM

I was appalled to learn several weeks ago that the National Museum of Natural History was going to allow the Discovery Institute (an "intelligent design" advocacy group) to showcase their latest bit of propaganda, The Priveleged Planet (granted, the DI... Read More

56 Comments

wow. This is just about a perfect response. The DI can’t make any “we’re being discriminated against” comments because they still get to show their movie, and now they absolutely cannot state that the Smithsonian support their movie without looking even more like lying jackasses.

good work on the behalf of the Smithsonian here.

To underscore the intellectual quality of The Privileged Planet, I suggest that the Smithsonian co-screen it with the awful 1978 “faked moon-landing” movie Capricorn One (starring Deep Throat actor Hal Holbrook!).

now they absolutely cannot state that the Smithsonian support their movie without looking even more like lying jackasses.

Based on past performance, what is your evidence that the stated qualification would bother them in the least?

What is the source for this statement? (personal, email to those who wrote, some other means??)

I had been corresponding with certain at the Smithsonian Institution. One of those contacts of mine informed me this morning of this press release, specifically authorizing me to pass it along to “colleagues.” I presumed that it was therefore fit for blogging.

BCH

Based on past performance, what is your evidence that the stated qualification would bother them in the least?

You have a point. Then again the easier their lies are to immediately disprove the better.

It would be a hoot if DI pulled the film now in protest, trying to accuse SI of genteel intolerance.

They just threw sixteen grand, at The Enemy, just to have a private party. Sooner or later, the ‘deep pockets’ are going to start questioning what all their money is doing for The Cause.

kdn

kdn

That looks like a good choice - keeping the agreement but adding a firm disclaimer. I wonder if the Smithsonian will be more careful in their research/selection of any bookings they make in future though.

Kevin wrote

They just threw sixteen grand, at The Enemy, just to have a private party. Sooner or later, the ‘deep pockets’ are going to start questioning what all their money is doing for The Cause.

I disagree. DI’s strategy is very much like that of the right-wing think tanks, e.g., Heritage and Cato. They spend the money and get their ideas “discussed.” Eventually, if they make the right contacts (kiss the right posteriors in the media, etc.) their “ideas” become “mainstream.”

Look for DI to ignore the disclaimer and tout the fact that their propaganda got a “co-sponsored presentation” at the NMNH, just as they tout Meyer’s article last year, or Salvador touts the news article in Nature, claiming them all to show that IDC’ers are presenting a scientifically valid “alternative to evolution.”

Some local real experts in cosmology and evolution should be at the event to offer rebuttal for the press, who will no doubt be invited. This strategy was used successfully at the Kansas Kangaroo court.

It took $16,000 to get the Smithsonian to officially note that ID is bogus? On that score, well-done DI.

Unfortunately, with people as dishonest as most IDists are (the activists, at least), the disclaimer won’t exactly make it into the churches, while “co-sponsorship” will. But that’s preaching to the choir, and it may turn out that forcing a denunciation of ID as BS (written in officialese) from the Smithsonian might mean that the $16,000 attempt at whoredom will backfire with the fence-sitters.

The Smithsonian seems to be taking the position that the show must go on because there’s a contract. The problem is, how did a contract come about and will something like this happen in the future?

I’m not sure I agree that the solution is the best of all possible options. Yes, the DI can’t complain that it’s being locked out, but it does get a national venue that will likely impress the many people who will never be aware of or fully appreciate museum disclaimers regarding the movie’s presentation. And yes, the museum is clearly disassociating itself from the content of the film, but should this be how the museum does business? Had this been a front organization for the KKK or the Aryan nation which had a contract with the museum, would their films get to be shown, though with a statement of disassociation from the museum to go with it?

The problem with showing anything at the Smithsonian is that there’s incredible cachet given to any association one may be able to claim to it, even if you have to pay your way to it. I still think the museum’s been besmirched by this and how it’s been handled, and while the currently plan may be the best solution to this problem I would like to know how the museum is going to avoid having something like this happen again in the future — disclaimers are not going to much bother the DI, and the fact is that they shouldn’t be in the door at all.

More directly, the remedy for breach of contract here would (very likely) be for the Smithsonian to simply refund the DI’s $16,000. Breaching a contract is no big deal; it’s not like you get arrested or fined or whatever for it. You just have to make the other party whole.

You just have to make the other party whole.

Does that mean “restore its integrity”?

Good luck with that!

Personally, while I think they shouldn’t be showing the movie I feel it would be even worse form to back out on the contract. They should definitely honor the contract and then just make sure that they do not support the contents of the movie at all. It won’t do anything about the media spin that will be put on the event, but it will at least help.

Regardless of whatever “restoring whole” means (ok, I appreciate that it means giving them their money back, but it’s the DI after all), I have to say to the following:

Comment #33057 Posted by Andrew on June 1, 2005 11:21 AM

More directly, the remedy for breach of contract here would (very likely) be for the Smithsonian to simply refund the DI’s $16,000. Breaching a contract is no big deal; it’s not like you get arrested or fined or whatever for it. You just have to make the other party whole.

That in light of the fact that the Randi Foundation is willing to fork over $20K (See Randi Offer to Smithsonian), it seems that the Smithsonian can not only make the DI whole, but make a little extra cash in the bargain. I can’t believe that there should be that much concern over the DI making noise over being locked out of the museum — I’m inclined to think there’s far less harm from that (heck, we’re supposedly always messing with them anyway) than there is from the erroneous association many will make with the film being shown there, disclaimer or not. I think it’s the principle of the thing: This movie has no place in one of the nation’s premier science education venues for the general public.

Anyone like to take bets that the DI is right now planning to have “invitation only” screenings in other science museums, such in NY, Boston, Chicago, etc.? They have their foot in the door at the top of the list of places to do this, what’s to stop them now?

I just searched the Smithsonian website, both their on-line list of recent press releases and the entire site via their search engine. At the moment there is no reference of any kind to the “Privileged Planet.” I do hope the putative press release to which this thread refers is not bogus. Yes, I understand that Burt got it from the “horse’s mouth” but without it being more visible publicly, what is it worth? The DI will claim the Smithsonian endorses/warms/loves the PP until hell freezes over. They’ll have no shame at repeating untruths, if it’s in the service of their religion.

Why does the Smithsonian have a contract with the Discovery Institute in the first place?

If that’s all there is to breaking contract, James, then by all means, the Smithsonian should do it (assuming that it’s also within their own operating rules, of course).

Let them whine that they’re kept out–they should be.

Reading between the lines, I suspect that none of the scientific staff of the museum, right up to the Director’s office, had any clue that this movie was going to be shown; it was set up by special event coordinators who routinely rent space (or provide space in return for a monetary contribution, it’s really just a matter of semantics) to all kinds of different groups; Baird Auditorium is the site of musical performances, theatrical productions, lectures, films, you name it.

The only consolation is that such monetary “donations” are (supposedly) unrestricted, meaning at least some of it will probably go to support evolutionary research at the Smithsonian (in reality, most will probably go to things like building maintenance). It’s a sad fact that the Smithsonian is in desperate need of money, and can’t afford to be too picky about the sources.

My question is, why is the Discovery Institute showing this film in the first place, and why did they choose the Smithsonian as the place to show it? The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that it was a shrewdly calculated move to buy credibility. Never mind that it’s a private event, by invitation only, and that “cosponsorship” by the Smithsonian is a formality (ALL events of every kind occurring on Smithsonian property are “cosponsored” by the Smithsonian, probably because in most cases the Smithsonian wants to get at least some credit for providing the space, not to mention any possible additional publicity for itself); never mind also that the event is not advertised or publicized in any way on the Smithsonian website (not even before the brouhaha over the film broke out); the Discovery Institute knows the Smithsonian name lends credibility and is going to milk that name for all it’s worth.

Another big question is, are they going to try to hawk either the movie or the book upon which it’s based? If so, they are violating their contract with the Smithsonian, which prohibits display or promotion of commercial products.

But overall it’s a win-win situation for the Discovery Institute; either they get to use the Smithsonian and its name, or the Smithsonian backs out and they can add it to their litany of whines and complaints about persecution by the scientific establishment. (The only way the Smithsonian could back out without having major egg on its face is by demonstrating that the Discovery Institute misrepresented either their organization or the movie they would be showing, and even then the Smithsonian would probably come off looking like the bad guys.)

I checked with the communications director at NMNH. He told me the statement attributed to the director is legitimate. Apparently, it was an internal email the director circulated.

Also, it looks like PBS is the next sucker:

“Following the premiere, the documentary is planned to run on Public Broadcasting Stations across the country.” http://www.amestrib.com/site/news.c[…]61&rfi=9

both PBS and NPR are under heavy fire from the right wing right now because they feel public TV and radio are too left-leaning.

It is no surprise to me that something like this idiotic movie will air on PBS.

write to your representatives and tell them you think public radio/tv is doing a good job of presenting a balanced presentation of SCIENCE already.

Every PBS station that runs it should add a disclaimer, an electronic “sticker” at the front and the back: “This program does not reflect the views of any scientist, any institution of higher learning, any laboratory doing real research, or the staff, management, owners and members of this station. Intelligent design is not a theory, it is not even a hypothesis. If you have any questions about the content of this film, please go to this website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/”

And then there should be a live discussion afterward, featuring local biologists.

That in light of the fact that the Randi Foundation is willing to fork over $20K (See Randi Offer to Smithsonian), it seems that the Smithsonian can not only make the DI whole, but make a little extra cash in the bargain.

aka “the efficient breach,” in Judge Posner’s parlance.

I would advise the Smithsonian to rip up the contract and issue a press statement denouncing the Discovery Insitute’s anti-science agenda and the Discovery Institute’s sick slick “video.”

Not only will the Smithsonian regain some of the credibility they’ve lost as a result of their dealings with the DI charlatans to date, but I’d be very happy to open up my own wallet for them.

Every institution that wishes to be taken seriously as a scientific institution should do everything it can to screw the Discovery Institute. There is everything to gain and absolutely nothing to lose by doing so.

I’m looking forward to seeing this statement on the Discovery Institute’s website any time now.

“Following the premiere, the documentary is planned to run on Public Broadcasting Stations across the country.”

Hmm… Would it be a reasonable bet that those broadcasters were conned/pressured into thinking the film was legitimate science by being told that the Smithsonian was going to show it first?

Even without an official Smithsonian endorsement (or a possible DI lie that there had been one) the mere fact of it being permitted at all in the Smithsonian is likely to have given the broadcasters the go ahead. They wouldn’t have reason to suspect the Smithsonian of lowering its standards that far or for itself failing to check the details of what was being pushed on them - the thing we are trying to get the media to be more careful about after all! No, the broadcasters would regard it as a green light in principle, unless they thought their standards were higher than the Smithsonian’s.

Of course some of the broadcasters could now go one up on the Smithsonian by refusing to show the film and making the point that they do have higher standards of checking material is suitable. It seems a little unlikely though and probably partly dependent on which way the money flows in that setup.

Assistant Professor Premiers Film at Institute

By: William Dillon The Tribune June 1, 2005

——————————————————————————–

Original Article

The work of an Iowa State University assistant professor has made its way into the Smithsonian Institute.

“I’m looking forward to seeing this statement on the Discovery Institute’s website any time now.”

ask and ye shall receive…

A 60-minute documentary titled “The Privileged Planet: The Search for Purpose in the Universe” will premiere at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History on June 23. The film is based on a book co-authored by Guillermo Gonzalez, an ISU assistant professor of astronomy and physics.

“I am very pleased that it is going to be shown at such an important locale,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez’s theory in “The Privileged Planet” creates a link between the design for life and scientific discovery. The rare qualities that make a planet habitable also provide the best overall conditions for observing the universe around us, he explains.

this was posted just recently, and is notable for the absence of the smithsonian’s disclaimer.

Re the PBS showings, check out this from the “IDNet-New Mexico Minsitry”:

If you enjoyed Unlocking the Mystery of Life you will really enjoy The Privileged Planet. Unlocking the Mystery of Life examined the scientific case for intelligent design in biology. The Privileged Planet explores scientific evidence revealed by contemporary astronomy and physics that suggests that our Earth… regarded by most scientists and philosophers today as an ordinary speck of dust adrift in a meaningless cosmos… is a very special place where we see the convergence of a stunning array of amazing coincidences… coincidences that point to the work of a transcendent designer.

Oh really? Why just one “designer”? Why not a race of “transcendent” aliens?

Yes, it is truly laughable and pathetic. But the best is yet to come. On the same site we can find an editorial submitted to the Albuquerque Tribune written by Joe Renick http://www.nmidnet.org/whois.html, the script-reciting rube who “leads” the New Mexico IDNet ministry. What does this joker say about ID?

ID is concerned with evidence of design in nature detected through the methods of empirical science. ID does not claim that a transcendent designer was responsible for life. To do so, would be to compromise the integrity of science by making claims that go far beyond the evidence.

http://www.nmidnet.org/ID_is_Scienc[…]eligion.html

The word “hypocritical” does not really do this sort of dissembling justice.

Among Jokin’ Joe’s accomplishments as Ministry Director is the compilation of a list of “New Mexicans with advanced degrees (MS or greater) in the physical or life sciences who are “skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life”.

Among the illuminati who signed this statement and who (according to Jokin’ Joe Renick) stand as “living testimony in contradiction” to the claim that “virtually every reputable scientist in the world” believes in the rock solid evidentiary basis for evolution are the following:

Jeanette Keenan, MS, Nursing, Yale U Linda M. McClanahan, MS Exercise Physiology, UNM Nathan Tumlison, MS Physical Therapy, U. of Central Arkansas

Probably 80% of the other signatories are “technical staff” employees at Los Alamos or Sandia National Labs who likely never took a biology class after freshman year in college (if that).

Is Jokin’ Joe Renick an honest man? In my opinion, you’d need to be naive and/or exceedingly generous to believe so. People like Joe Resnick probably are allowed to write checks. You’ve been warned.

Oh, here’s a sample of Jokin’ Joe Renick’s delusional and paranoid approach to science:

Free will and suffering aside, in this marriage of Genesis and Darwin, it is Genesis that is the loser. Regardless of the perceived nature of the union, the underlying result is that most, if not all, essential meaning is willingly stripped from the first few chapters of Genesis.

Wow! Jokin Joe purports to tell the world what the “essential meaning” of the Book of Genesis is! What an enlightened man Jokin’ Joe must be. I wonder if that is Jokin’ Joe’s “objective impartial” evaluation of the “evidence” for God’s intent?

In the same unintelligible and disturbing essay http://www.nmidnet.org/theistic_evo.html, Jokin’ Joe “urges” people who believe both God and evolutionary biologists to join him in smearing the world’s scientists. All in a day’s work for Joe Renick!

Lastly, there’s this from yet another of Jokin’ Joe’s fabulous essays:

The phrase “ID is creationism in a lab coat” is a stereotype that is easily understood, frequently used … and false. An analysis of the logic reveals that the stereotype is based on a religious implication that is irrelevant to both ID’s scientific status and its legal status.

That is wishful thinking on Renick’s part! Sadly for Jokin’ Joe, many stereotypes are grounded in incontrovertible truths. And the notion that ID proponents are religiously-motivated cranks whose views are scientifically worthless was revealed in Kansas’s recent Kangaroo Kourt to be a fact beyond reasonable dispute.

Perhaps Joe would like to debate the points I’ve raised? Several readers could send him an email and invite him to do so here. My guess is that he is too cowardly to engage in honest discussion of the sort he pretends to advocate.

I don’t know why the SI hasn’t posted the press release. The email I received said clearly that I could pass it along to colleagues, but it gives me the willies that I might have nevertheless betrayed someone’s confidence posting it. (That the PR contact at the SI said it was an internal document doesn’t help my willies.)

Be that as it may, I have new information about the PBS programming. As it turns out, Illustra Media has made Privileged Planet available to PBS affiliates across this country, with the rights beginning 1 June 2005 (today) and lasting for three years. A PBS station has enormous discretion over what programs it will play and local directors are the people to whom any concerns need to be addressed.

I’ll probably blog this in a few minutes.

BCH

A quick search of the literature reveals that Gonzalez has a pretty decent publication record. He must stand as one of the more impressive IDists. Out of interest, does anyone know his position on evolution?

Ironically, the Unlocking the Mystery video is available for sale at the PBS store!

http://www.shoppbs.org/product/inde[…]ctId=1407638

what to make of that, i wonder?

I vigorously disagree that simply adding a disclaimer to this film’s presentation is a workable solution. The statement reads “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.”

When you determine that something runs antithetical to your mission, you pull it, not show it anyway. Those who surmise the public will never hear of the disclaimer are absolutely correct. The Smithsonian, through its actions, is legitimizing ID as a viable scientific perspective. This is absolutely shameful.

Ironically, the Unlocking the Mystery video is available for sale at the PBS store!

If this is the same PBS that includes Dr. Wayne Dyer’s lectures in its programming, then I’m not surprised at all. I once saw a Johnny Carson rerun where Dyer was babbling something about “There is no such thing as should have, should have, could have, would have, no such thing, blah blagh blah. Why should I hold the door for anybody, it’s all about me me me me me.” (I’m paraphrasing from memory of course.) You could just tell that ole Johnny was doing his best to be polite, but underneath all the politeness he really wanted to throw a pie in his face.

The Smithsonian is doing all they can to not be in breach and thus void the contract. Part of the contract is the name of the Smithsonian cannot be used on any document without prior approval of the Smithsonian. Thus, any future claims by DI on this would have to be approved by the Smithsonian. If DI violates this then the Smithsonian needs to be made whole (read more money for the Smithsonian). This wouldn’t contrain surrogates like Ms. O’Leary but it would put a cramp on “official communications” and more importantly fund raising letters.

“Thus, any future claims by DI on this would have to be approved by the Smithsonian”

uh, you mean like the one posted on DI’s website right now that i quoted from earlier? sure sounds like they are promoting the link to SI to me.

who do we tell?

The article posted on the Discovery Institute site was a reprint of an Ames Tribune (which is of local interest given that Gonzales is an ISU professor) article which included this:

The Smithsonian’s co-sponsorship of the film does not mean the museum endorses the ideas expressed in the film, according to the Web site. An event held at the Smithsonian cannot be a personal event, fund-raising event or an event of a religious or partisan political nature, according to the Smithsonian’s special events policy.

It is unrealistic to expect the Ames Tribune to publish a non-published press release. I know people want the blogosphere to do the heavy lifting, but this is ridiculous. The Discovery Institute changed none of the wording. If you look at the official announcement on the web site it appears to be the tightly-controlled wording on the invites.

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In the same unintelligible and disturbing essay http://www.nmidnet.org/theistic_evo.html, Jokin’ Joe “urges” people who believe both God and evolutionary biologists to join him in smearing the world’s scientists. All in a day’s work for Joe Renick!

This is a real piece of work. He’s got it all wrong about why people like myself believe in theistic evolution. Evolution is inconvenient for my worldview. If there was slightest evidence that it was not true, I wouldn’t be a theistic evolutionist. I am a theistic evolutionist because I deal with the world as it is and not as I prefer it to be.

Extra credit assignment: Someone diagram the following statement, show it as a violation of the Law of Non-Contradiction, and e-mail it to Joe.

While there are varying viewpoints among theistic evolutionists as to whether or not this process is directed or not, evolutionists, because of their philosophical commitment to Naturalism, insist as a matter of dogma that the process of evolution is undirected and without purpose.

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.

An event held at the Smithsonian cannot be a personal event, fund-raising event or an event of a religious or partisan political nature, according to the Smithsonian’s special events policy.

Cowards. If ANY organization is “of a religious or partisan political nature”, then Discovery Institute is. If ANY film is “of a religious or partisan political nature”, then _Privileged Planet” is.

If the Smithsonian had any balls left, they’d void the contract they made with the “religious and partisan political organization” and tell them that if they bring their religious film onto Smithsonian property they will be arrested for trespassing – and if they ever refer to the religious film as “Smithsonian-sponsored” they will be sued for defamation.

I think Smithsonian, to its eternal shame, is trying to kiss political ass with the Republinuts who currently control Congress (and, coincidentally, Smithsonian funding).

Cowards.

“I think Smithsonian, to its eternal shame, is trying to kiss political ass with the Republinuts who currently control Congress (and, coincidentally, Smithsonian funding).”

well, not so much kissing ass as licking boot.

The Washington Post again demonstrates why it is one of America’s best newspapers:

Smithsonian Distances Itself From Controversial Film By Tommy Nguyen Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, June 2, 2005; Page C01

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy[…]0101986.html

It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to see what the Discovery Institute was up to. From the Post:

In its statement yesterday, the Smithsonian said it will honor the agreement to screen the film June 23, but that it does not endorse the film and will not accept the agreed-upon fee offered for the auditorium.

“We’re disappointed,” Chapman said. “We met all their conditions – screening the film for them, agreeing [to list the Smithsonian] director’s name on the invitation and so forth – and then some mention of this in the media, and now they want to backtrack to some degree, and we don’t get it.”

If DI just wanted a place to screen the film, they got it. Why would they be disappointed? But it appears from Chapman’s statement that DI had thought that by screening the film at a Smithsonian venue, they would have achieved some scientific breakthrough.

It reminds me of some of the high school kids I teach, who would rather fill in blanks on a worksheet than read a history assignment. They think that, if all the blanks are filled, even if the blanks are filled incorrectly, they have met the requirements and deserve a grade. That the object is to learn history seems to escape their grasp.

Here the Discovery Institute appears to have failed to grasp that, to promote “intelligent design,” they need to find some real science research that actually backs the idea. They had thought that, if they could just be in the same building as real science, they were on their way to a Nobel.

Somebody call Seattle: Tell them that sleeping in a garage doesn’t make one an automobile; going to church on Sunday doesn’t make one a Christian; being in the Smithsonian doesn’t make one a scientist (nor a fossil).

A rational person might think it easier to try to find a testable hypothesis for ID and test it. For nearly 14 years now IDists have tried every shenanigan imaginable to sneak their political views into science venues; 14 years, plus $7 million or $8 million later, and they still can’t make the grade. Some people could have done real research with that sum of money.

It’s not just a few high school kids who don’t want to bother to learn from history, eh?

Ed Darrell Wrote:

Some people could have done real research with that sum of money.

At the 2002 4th World Skeptics Conference, I made just that point.

Slide 28: What progress has been accomplished in intelligent design?

Back in 1997, I presented at the NTSE conference mentioned earlier. Jonathan Wells, Bill Dembski, and Paul Nelson were there. Earlier this year, I asked DI CRSC Senior Fellow Jonathan Wells for a progress report on scientific advances in intelligent design made *since* the 1997 NTSE conference. Wells talked about Michael Behe’s concept of “irreducible complexity”. But Behe published that in 1996, which last I checked predates 1997. I translate Wells’s answer as “no progress”.

Slide 29: A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to ask DI CRSC Senior Fellow Bill Dembski much the same question. Bill was more negative than Wells; he didn’t even offer Behe’s 1996 work. Instead, Bill complained about the lack of funding for intelligent design. All the funding goes to evolutionary biology, he said. This is a curious stance for someone who gets a fellowship from an organization with a multi-million dollar operating budget. Many papers are published in evolutionary biology by graduate students who only get departmental support, mostly getting perhaps one-third or less of what a CRSC Fellow receives in his fellowship checks. Perhaps the CRSC is funding the wrong people.[++] In any case, work is promised to be coming soon, just like I heard at the 1997 conference. But it isn’t here yet.

[++] Paul Nelson was directly on my left, seated next to the podium. At this point, he looked up at me and gave me a pained look.

Steve U. Wrote:

I wonder if Jay Richards would be willing to come here and explain his odd incomprehensible statement.

Why would he? I mean, why would he lower himself to talking to people that don’t even realize that by making the observation that his wife does things when he’s not around that he has disproven Einstein?

According to Denyse O’leary at Post-darwinist.blogspot.com and evolutionnews.org, the Smithsonian is going to give back the $16K and still let them show the movie.

There is also some smoking gun that the associate director of collections viewed the film. (Email)

The Special events director is busy sucking up and covering her butt in communications with the DI.

Unfortunately the damage is already done. How many people are going to distinguish between the Discovery Institute showing a film at the Smithsonian, and the Smithsonian showing a film supporting “intelligent design”?

I’m not sure which is worse–that the Discovery Institute managed to buy the credibility of the Smithsonian’s name, or that now they’re getting it for free.

DI’s strategy is very much like that of the right-wing think tanks, e.g., Heritage and Cato

Cato’s not a right-wing think tank.

asg:

Cato’s not a right-wing think tank

I guess that depends on your definitions of “right-wing” and “thinking.”

Of course, but a definition of right-wing that allows for support for gay marriage, opposition to the war in Iraq, opposition to the drug war, opposition to farm subsidies, support for massive defense cuts, etc., is a pretty poor definition.

So, please feel free to substitute “Cato is not right-wing by any reasonable or helpful definition of ‘right-wing’” for my original statement.

Cato’s not a right-wing think tank.

It’s libertarian, IIRC.

And it’s also up to its eyebrows with the “American militia” lunatics, IIRC.

Right, because all those “American militia” lunatics (what are the quote marks for? who are you quoting?) are so very enthusiastic about gay marriage, getting rid of the drug war, vastly expanded immigration, etc. They and Cato are right on the same page there. Or something.

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Where do these statements about discrimination and intolerance come from? Facts are inherently neutral. Science is based on facts; therefore, well supported scientific theories such as evolution should never be seen as something that is discriminatory or intolerant. They are what they are. ID is not positively supported by any factual evidence and is therefore susceptable to unreasonable biases and the of making misleading unfounded statements.

If anyone is to be seen as discriminatory in this context it is the community of people who are trying to force their religious beliefs and ideologies on others. This is a relevant statement, because the showing of this movie in such a scientific institution gives them the perception of credibility which is undeserved, even with the disclaimer statement. How many people read the fine print?

The $16,000 bribe only tells the proponents of ID that scientific credibility can be purchased. This, I’m sure is not the first time and it will not be the last; however, we need to draw a firm line and stick to the facts.

If the Smithsonian is this strapped for cash, then the scientific community has better open up our wallets to ensure that science remains science and religion stays out of it.

Ask the militia kooks. They infest Florida, where I live. Or spend ten minutes doing a google search.

So, that’d be a ‘no’, you don’t in fact have any evidence for your view. Thought not. Thanks for playing.

(As it happens I did do a google search, on “Cato Institute militia movement”, no quotes. Turned up nothing. That exhausted my willingness to try to substantiate your unsupported claims for you.)

But you and frank sure did demonstrate a useful, on-topic point: that people who are very knowledgeable about one subject area are often quite clueless in others, yet assert claims in both areas with equal confidence. The creationist movement is of course well known for doing this, assembling the support of scientists who are not biologists to criticize a theory they don’t really specialize in or even understand. It should surprise no one that the pro-science movement is prone to this phenomenon as well.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Burt Humburg published on June 1, 2005 7:58 AM.

An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science was the previous entry in this blog.

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