My Ancestor Was Not an Underwater Vent!

It’s good to have idiots deciding what people get to see at the science museum, isn’t it. Well, that’s the market for you.

Some IMAX theaters are refusing to carry movies that promote evolution, citing concerns that doing so offends their audience and creates controversy – a move that has some proponents of Darwinism alarmed over the influence of “fundamentalists.”…A dozen science centers rejected the 2003 release, “Volcanoes,” because of it speculation that life on Earth may have originated in undersea vents, says Dr. Richard Lusk, an oceanographer and chief scientist for the project. Because a only small number of IMAX theaters show science films, a boycott by a few can reduce the potential audience to the point that producers question whether projects are financially worthwhile…

And that’s that. Whereas it probably doesn’t work the other way. A few intellectually curious people who want to see more movies with speculations about the origins of life on earth probably don’t inspire producers to make such movies. So the easily offended get to decide.

When the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History played the movie for a test audience, the responses were sufficiently negative for the museum to drop it from its offerings. Responses 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” doomed the film’s chances. “Some people said it was blasphemous,” says Carol Murray, the museum’s director of marketing.

And if some people say it was blasphemous, well, away with it then.

The film’s distributor says other science museum officials turned him down “for religious reasons” and because “Volcanoes” had “evolutionary overtones” – a claim that makes Hyman Field, a former National Science Foundation official who played a role in its financing, “furious. It’s very alarming,” he says, “all of this pressure being put on a lot of the public institutions by the fundamentalists.”


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