Beautiful response

Much has been made across the science blogosphere over the last couple of days of the Smithsonian Institute's foolish decision to "co-sponsor" the showing of a movie touting "intelligent design" (ID) creationism at the Smithsonian for $16,000 with the Discovery Institute. Because all such fees go towards supporting research done by the Smithsonian, this led some to quip that this was the first time the Discovery Institute ever supported and real research. James Randi even offered to donate $20,000 to the Smithsonian if it would cancel the event, an idea that, as much as I respect Randi, I considered to be ill-advised because of how it would be used as propaganda by ID adherents (here, too).

Now, via Panda's Thumb, comes a report of the Smithsonian's response:
Statement by the Director, National Museum of Natural History

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History recently approved a request by the Discovery Institute to hold a private, invitation-only screening and reception at the Museum on June 23 for the film “The Privileged Planet.” Upon further review we have determined that the content of the film is not consistent with the mission of the Smithsonian Institution’s scientific research. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the National Museum of Natural History supports or endorses the Discovery Institute or the film “The Privileged Planet.” However, since Smithsonian policy states that all events held at any museum be “co-sponsored” by the director and the outside organization, and we have signed an agreement with this organization, we will honor the commitment made to provide space for the event.

Beautiful, if this is true. The Smithsonian will take the Discovery Institute's money and at the same time undercut their claims of being "discriminated against" by demolishing the way the Discovery Institute has been implying its "co-sponsoring" this event with the Smithsonian somehow legitimizes its viewpoint. Of course, the creationists are already whining that the evil evolutionists (a.k.a. "Darwinbots") cowed the directors of the Smithsonian into issuing this statement. (What the hell is a "Darwinbot"?) I find such complaints particularly (and most satisfyingly) ironic coming from ID adherents. After all, ID has utterly failed to be accepted as science because ID adherents don't do what past scientists whose hypotheses have met with intial resistance have done to win scientific credibility: Bury their naysayers with compelling evidence, data, and experimentation that force the scientific community to accept their hypothesis. Instead, ID adherents prefer to use exactly the same tactics they are complaining about now (letter-writing campaigns, political pressure, etc.) in the service of persuading gullible politicians and school boards to become their champions. They don't even make much of a pretense of doing science. Now that they've had a taste of their own medicine, they don't like it one bit.

"ID-bots," anyone? It doesn't sound as catchy as "Darwin-bots," but it's more accurate.


  1. Hey Orac. Check out

    The latest is that the DI are going to give back the cash.

    Also, please note that PBS channels nationwide might possibly show PP. Check your local listings and write your local station. Spread the word.


  2. Bah. I meant the SI are going to give back the cash.


  3. ID-bots, when said out loud, is very close to "idiots", so I say dispense with the pretense and go right to IDiots. (heh)


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