Faith-based science

Saturday, March 19th, 2005

"Several Imax theaters, including some in science museums, are refusing to show movies that mention the subject [of evolution] - or the Big Bang or the geology of the earth - fearing protests from people who object to films that contradict biblical descriptions of the origin of Earth and its creatures […] People who follow trends at commercial and institutional Imax theaters say that in recent years, religious controversy has adversely affected the distribution of a number of films, including ‘Cosmic Voyage,’ which depicts the universe in dimensions running from the scale of subatomic particles to clusters of galaxies; ‘Galápagos,’ about the islands where Darwin theorized about evolution; and ‘Volcanoes of the Deep Sea,’ an underwater epic about the bizarre creatures that flourish in the hot, sulfurous emanations from vents in the ocean floor." (NYT, login: wrreaders)

Can someone tell me how, how, how Christian fundamentalists have gained so much power in the United States? Is it money? Is it that they shout louder and more hysterically than everyone else? Is it a combination of the two? Why is everyone so afraid of the Bible-thumpers that they cave in at the slightest hint of a potential controversy?

I mean, how has it become acceptable for educators to be afraid of mentioning evolution in the United States? How can Americans condemn countries governed by Islamic fundamentalists, and then turn around and let Christian fundamentalists determine what’s taught in American schools, what’s broadcast on American television, and what’s displayed in American science museums?

If you are a public school, then your science classes have an obligation to teach the theories and facts of science as they are currently known to us - and that includes talking about evolution, which is indeed a theory, but one based on hard scientific research and empirical findings - unlike the "theory" of creationism, which is based on blind faith in a book of stories written a couple of thousand years ago. See the difference, folks?

And if you are a science museum, like the Fort Worth Museum of SCIENCE and HISTORY (which is playing pretty fast and loose with that terminology), you have an obligation to promote science and history - which entails not giving in to the few fundamentalists in your audience who think your movie about volcanoes is "blasphemous". So if you show the movie, some people will rant, and some people won’t come to see it - but at least you will have been true to the educational principles you presumably espouse by calling yourself a museum of science and history.

You can believe whatever you want in America. You think the world was created in 7 days? Fine. You think Mother Earth got it on with Father Sky and populated the world with a bunch of giants? Okee-doke. You think the universe sits on the back of a giant turtle? Whatever. Your spiritual beliefs are your own. I repeat: YOUR OWN. They are not mine, they are not everyone else’s, and they have no place in determining what the rest of the country sees, hears or learns.

If you don’t want your children to learn about evolution, then home-school them, send them to Dinosaur Adventure Land or Creation Boot Camp, and shut the hell up. No one is forcing you to go to science museums! No one is prying your eyes open Clockwork Orange-style and forcing you to watch Imax films! Take this as an example: I choose not to watch The Passion of the Christ because from what I’ve seen and heard of it, it’s a sadistic gore-fest which would contribute nothing to my understanding of the Christian religion. It offends my sensibilities, and I am utterly baffled by the hypocrisy of people who will foam at the mouth about Janet Jackson’s nipple on television and then turn around and revel in a film that is frankly pornographically violent. But you know, the film isn’t actually hurting me or anyone else, as far as I can tell, so it never occurred to me to stand outside a movie theater and protest. The thought never crossed my mind that just because I don’t want to see it, then no one should be able to see it.

I’m sorry, but it is not a God-given right to not be confronted with something you might find offensive. If you don’t want to be offended by anything, then turn off your damn television and go live in a religious compound, or in a cave, or on top of a mountain, or somewhere else where you will never, ever encounter anyone who is not exactly like you. Then the rest of us will be free to go on living happily in this crazy, diverse, infuriating, and yet somehow wonderful place we like to call the REAL WORLD.

Comments

1

I did get rid of my tv.

Apart from that, I agree with the rest… Say, what’s wrong with the turtle theory? Pratchett makes a fortune out of it. ;-)

2

:-) Nothing’s wrong with the turtle theory - as long as nobody tries to force the turtle theory on me by depriving me access to other, more (ahem) scientifically sound theories…

Posted by Jessica

3

We live in country polarized by fear of the unknown.

We shake our heads in disbelief as we see televised pictures of women garbed head to toe in concealing robes and call ourselves modern because we revel in our false sense of superiority. Are we modern because we do not penalize women for wearing practically nothing in public and then roar our disapproval when a breast is bared during a national broadcast or a white women drops her towel and leaps into the arms of a black man?

We are nation held captive by our own ignorance as much as any other. We claim personal freedoms are the hallmark of our society and then escalate a husband’s desire to honor his wife’s oral statement not be held in an undead state to the highest seat of our government. Feeding tube in … feeding tube out … who’s right but then again there is nothing right about the question.

We have no more moral authority than a mullah or Hassidic rabbi preaching their own version of hate.

Kind of depressing but we can thank all the "true believers" for the state of the world in which we live.

Posted by Michael

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