My second post on Darwinian censorship today pertains to Illustra Media’s film Darwin’s Dilemma: The Mystery of the Cambrian Fossil Record. It was slated to be shown at the California Science Center, as Anika Smith of the Discovery Institute has noted:
[T]he Los Angeles Daily News reports that the California Science Center, a “ department of the State of California,” cancelled the screening of Darwin’s Dilemma after the screening became public knowledge and the Center came under intense pressure to cancel, possibly from the Smithsonian Institution, with which they are affiliated. The Center’s IMAX Theater had been rented by a private group, the American Freedom Alliance, to hold the Los Angeles premiere of the film as part of a series of activities commemorating the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.
The Smithsonian Institution was clearly upset by publicity promoting the screening that mentioned the true fact that the Science Center is an official “ Smithsonian Affiliate.” The President of the Science Center’s Foundation is now claiming that it canceled the event “because of issues related to the contract,” issues he conveniently refuses to identify.
Free Speech? Anyone? Anyone?
John West of the Discovery Institute had this to say:
I think this is an outrageous example of censorship and ideological discrimination. The thing about a contractual dispute is just a pretext and it’s bogus. This really should be disturbing to anyone who believes in free speech.
I am disturbed, Dr. West. Darwinian supporters at the Smithsonian can, of course, lean on a venue, but they cannot lean on an idea. The film will be shown elsewhere, and eventually shown in homes; such influence over the venue, in the long run, is futile.
Also of note, there is a debate scheduled between Discovery Institute’s Stephen Meyer and Biologic Institute’s Richard Sternberg debating The Skeptics Society President Michael Shermer and paleontologist Don Prothero on Nov. 30 at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, also sponsored by The American Freedom Alliance.
On a personal note, I am greatly amused that Dr. Dembski has offered to be a contributing editor to Michael Shermer’s publication Skeptic as one who is skeptical of evolution. Shermer has not agreed to Dr. Dembki’s offer of being evolution’s resident skeptic at Skeptic. Apparently there are ideologies and beliefs, such as atheistic materialism and unguided evolution, that Shermer is not the least skeptical about. Nor is he skeptical of why is he isn’t skeptical of those things. Does this mean that Shermer is an inconsistent skeptic? I suppose one cannot be a skeptic about being skeptical of everything, because it would become self-defeating and cancel itself out, like a double negative. No one can be skeptical of everything. So why call yourself a skeptic? We’re all skeptical of some things, right? I’m skeptical that Shermer is a good judge of skepticism and what one should be skeptical of.