the sanctioned science of our state religion

Are we going to allow American science museums to back down from teaching evolution? Apparently, several are. Here’s a clip from the New York Times:

The fight over evolution has reached the big, big screen.

Several Imax theaters, including some in science museums, are refusing to show movies that mention the subject – or the Big Bang or the geology of the earth – fearing protests from people who object to films that contradict biblical descriptions of the origin of Earth and its creatures.

Yup, you read that right, they’re not showing films about geology now. Are you starting to see why I’m concerned? Geology is heresy now… The evangelicals claim that they just want evolution taught as a “theory,” but it’s more than that. They don’t want anything taught, whether it’s presented as a theory or not, that challenges the notion that our world was created in a week, and that Adam and Eve sprang from the head of God hairless and walking upright. That’s their endgame, and it’s terrifying shit, people. This is tantamount to teaching that the sun and the planets revolve around the earth, and it’s taking place right now, in 2005, in America… Here are a few more clips from the story in the Times:

Carol Murray, director of marketing for the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, said the museum decided not to offer the movie after showing it to a sample audience, a practice often followed by managers of Imax theaters. Ms. Murray said 137 people participated in the survey, and while some thought it was well done, “some people said it was blasphemous.”

In their written comments, she explained, they made statements like “I really hate it when the theory of evolution is presented as fact,” or “I don’t agree with their presentation of human existence”…

In interviews, officials at other Imax theaters said they had similarly decided against the film for fear of offending some audiences. “We have definitely a lot more creation public than evolution public,” said Lisa Buzzelli, who directs the Charleston Imax Theater in South Carolina, a commercial theater next to the Charleston Aquarium. Her theater had not ruled out ever showing “Volcanoes,” Ms. Buzzelli said, “but being in the Bible Belt, the movie does have a lot to do with evolution, and we weigh that carefully.”

So, is science up for debate? Is it, like obscenity, something that changes from town to town, depending upon community standards? How about history? If the south doesn’t like Dr. King, should he not be in textbooks? And why even bothering teaching the Civil War for that matter?

And, on another related subject, isn’t 1+1=2 just a theory too? Should we not be teaching that?

If you disagree, and if you’re looking for someone to chat with about your concerns, might I suggest that you call either the folks at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, or the folks at the Charleston Imax Theater. I think I’m going to watch “Arrested Development” tonight, have a few beers and then start leaving messages…

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  1. Suzie
    Posted March 20, 2005 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Wow! It’s too bad they’d consider nixing the whole category – because an Imax about geology would be freakin’ awesome. Plate techtonics, geysers, volcanoes, sedimentation and erosion sped up to be visible to the untrained eye…

  2. Posted March 20, 2005 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    If this sort of thing continues, even red-state kids who *want* to go and learn about science are going to have a hard time.
    Which is the point, I suppose.

  3. dan from austin
    Posted March 21, 2005 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    So now instead of museums showing fossils with a sign reading fossils from the paleozoic era, etc, the signs can now say, “This fossil was placed on earth as a test of our faith by God.” That would begin to satisfy the fundies, right?

    Will dinosaur bones be referred to as demons from the 8th circle of hell hat clawed their way tothe surface? By Jesus you can bet on it!

    The world is becoming a really awesome place…

  4. mark
    Posted March 22, 2005 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    I’m starting an education fund for Clementine… money so that we can travel to other countries to visit science museums and the like.

    And I think I’m going to get her a Charles Darwin tattoo as soon as I can find someone who does work on children.

  5. be OH be
    Posted March 22, 2005 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Welcome to The New Dark Ages.

    I always imagine the people spewing this kind of thought were the kids in science and history class whining, “Why do we have to learn this? What am I going to use this for?” And now they are attempting to enlighten the world about the nature of scientific thought.

    Why can’t they just let their beliefs be something that they believe? The thought process seems to be akin to a motivational poster: “If you can dream it, you can achieve it!”

    “If you believe it, it must be true!”
    “If you believe it, you don’t need to prove it!”

  6. brett
    Posted March 22, 2005 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I blame the overly-modest scientist who first decided to humbly refer to his researched conclusion as a ‘theory’, as the misunderstanding of the meaning of that term has given a huge semantic advantage to the intelligent design faction.

    “It’s just a theory!”

    Of course, their evidence is “Just a mythological Fable”, but it hardly matters.

    Another aspect of the debate is the popular opinion that Scientists are shiftless know-it-alls who are too smart for their own good, much like any ‘liberal type’.

    I personally blame the character of Mr. Peabody from ‘rocky and bullwinkle’ for this attitude.

  7. chris
    Posted March 22, 2005 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    I thought the dino bones got there when angels with really big eyes and wearing Nike tennis shoes flew down in their God saucers and put them there.

    And Brett, what do you mean Mr. Peabody “character”. Just what are you implying?

    And if they do get rid of evolution what will I tell my son who at the age of four asked, “How can there be people and animals now if all the living things died with the dinosaurs?”. Maybe I should have just answered, “Dinowhats?”.

    I know, it is really getting whacky.

  8. mark
    Posted March 22, 2005 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    “A good American doesn’t ask questions.” That’s going to be my standard response to my daughter.

  9. brett
    Posted March 22, 2005 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Chris- considering his boy Sherman, I think Peabody was also a potential agent for NAMBLA.

  10. Posted March 26, 2005 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    I suppose if you believe in an invisible man in the sky, its not very difficult to swallow the christian ape theory ;)

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