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Smithsonian Insitution Makes News for Agreeing to Show The Privileged Planet

Some bloggers (here, here, and here to start) and media are taking notice of the forthcoming premiere of The Privileged Planet at the Smithsonian (June 23).

A story in the New York Times today by John Schwartz has some bloggers seething, imagining that the film is a propaganda piece that should be banned from right-minded science institutions.

Obviously, the Smithsonian staff that actually screened the film thought differently, and they happen to be right. Randall Kremer, a Smithsonian spokesperson was quoted in the Times' piece saying that that the film was vetted by the Smithsonian:

"He added that staff members viewed the film before approving the event ..."

It might help if the complainers actually bothered to see the film themselves, filled as it is with scientists and history that is difficult to refute.

Some scientists in the film are supporters of intelligent design, some are not; some speak of “purpose.” It is interesting. It is provocative. In a free society, where science itself is free of cant, attempts to censor such programs (or the books they are based on) are inappropriate and usually futile.

The Smithsonian staff thought the film was worthy to show and worthy for the institution to co-sponsor, (co-sponsorship is apparently how all events at the museum are handled). They did not endorse or advocate the film’s content, nor has anyone at Discovery suggested otherwise. Schwartz makes that clear in his quote from Discovery’s president, Bruce Chapman:

"We are not implying in any sense that they endorsed the content, but they are co-sponsoring it, and we are delighted."