Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Did We Sell Them the Rope to Hang Us With?

Welcome back. Most of you -- the sane ones at any rate -- took the Memorial Day weekend off. You went to the lake. You went for long bike rides. You read a book. You broke the routine. While you were gone, the ever vigilant Red State Rabble, Thoughts from Kansas, Pharyngula, Panda's Thumb, and James Randi were on the job. That probably makes us a little batty, but, there you are.

What you need to know is this: intelligent designers at the Discovery Institute have made a $16,000 donation to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural Science to have the premier showing of their ID film "The Privileged Planet: The Search for Purpose in the Universe" held there on June 23rd. The invitation-only event is being billed as "co-sponsored" by the Smithsonian. (You can see a copy of the invitation here)

While the saying attributed to the Russian Communist leader Lenin that,"[t]he capitalists are so hungry for profits that they will sell us the rope to hang them," is apparently apocryphal, it may be that for a pitiful 16 grand we have now sold the imprimatur of science to the antiscience mob.

Doubt that it will be used against defenders of science? Here's the headline on a post by Denyse O'Leary on the ID friendly Post-Darwinist blog: "News Alert: Smithsonian Museum Warming to Intelligent Design." Get the picture?

All along, we've been hearing from ID "theorists" that there is a legitimate controversy among scientists over evolution. The only reason they're willing to pay $16,000 to rent a room to show their movie in, is because that room is located inside one of the premier science institutions in the world. It drives that ol' wedge in just a little deeper.

A response is being organized -- and we need your help. Pro-science websites and bloggers are asking readers to make protest calls and send protest e-mails to Randall Kremer, National Museum of Natural History Director of Public Affairs 202-633-2950 giving@si.edu or nhevents@si.edu.

Red State Rabble is asking you to do more. Please send a personal e-mail note to five reality-based friends, relatives, or colleagues asking them to take action, as well. If you run a list-serve, website, or blog and you're just getting back, please let people know about this issue.

The James Randi Education Fund has gone one step further. They've offered the Smithsonian a no-strings attached donation of $20,000 if they cancel the antiscience Discovery Institute film showing.

Here are some resources for following the story. Be sure to read the May 28 New York Times article by John Schwartz, "Smithsonian to Screen a Movie That Makes a Case Against Evolution." Panda's Thumb has posted a series of links on the film. Scroll down for Red State Rabble's coverage from over the weekend.

Now get busy and send those e-mails.


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