Washington Post Chastises Smithsonian

In today’s Washington Post, there is an editorial entitled Dissing Darwin that is recommended reading. I’ll offer some commentary on the flipside.

The Washington Post Editors wrote:

The museum was naive or negligent not to recognize [the true motivations of the Discovery Institute], and more naive not to anticipate the backlash. When news of the film showing recently began circulating, one Web site that supports intelligent design asked enthusiastically whether this meant the Smithsonian was “warming up” to the theory of an intelligent creator. In a newspaper interview, Bruce Chapman, president of the Discovery Institute, also said how delighted he was that the Museum of Natural History would “co-sponsor” the event despite the fact that the evening was intended to be a private affair. This is precisely how the intelligent design movement has gotten as far as it has: by advocating outwardly inoffensive ideas in ever-more prestigious places, thereby giving the movement scientific validity.

The Discovery Institute certainly makes the short-list of influential anti-science collectives. Faxes and emails available on a Discovery Institute website seem to indicate communication with the Discovery Institute directly and not with surrogates. The conclusion that the Smithsonian failed to intercept a clear instantiation of The Wedge in action due to naivete or negligence is hard to miss. Thus, the editorial is spot-on.

But it’s easy to criticize others for negligence and not be vigilant yourself. A few days ago, word was spreading that the creationists were hoping to show Privileged Planet on PBS stations nationwide. PT confirmed this and asked science advocates to contact their local stations. Have you?

All this is to say, the editorial correctly accuses the Smithsonian Institution of negligence. Readers of the thumb who agree should exercise vigilance themselves and look in their own backyard.