Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Smithsonian Protest Letters: Restore Credibility

Reader Davin F. shares this letter to the Smithsonian:

I was shocked and outraged to read in the New York Times today of the Smithsonian's sponsorship and screening of the Discovery Institute's film "The Privileged Planet: The Search for Purpose in the Universe."

The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History represents the highest standard of scientific research about the history of our planet and the Universe. To host a screening of this film, whether it is a paid rental or not, is completely against the mission of the Smithsonian. I am sure you have refused to screen other films and host other events due to their nature - this film should have certainly set off alarm bells at the highest levels of the administration there.

I've worked my entire life in museums spanning the entire country, and I can tell you that none of them would ever consider hosting an event, rental or otherwise, that went against our mission of presenting science to the public. Intelligent design is not a scientific theory, and given that its proponents are currently trying to replace science with this religious-based dogma in the nation's classrooms, the Smithsonian's responsibility seems very clear.

You still have plenty of time to come out on the correct side of this issue, and restore your institution's sterling credibility. Cancel the event. To let the screening continue with a carefully worded press release is show that the Smithsonian's scientific principles can be set aside for a sum as low as $16,000. From a public relations point of view, it will be a disaster. This issue will snowball in the media, not to mention with your supporters and colleagues in political and scientific circles. It won't be long until irreversible damage to the Smithsonian has occurred.

I hope you take the immediate action of cancelling the event. I look forward to seeing the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History make the course correction that is consistent with its noble mission.


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