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Censorship Science

Imax Theaters Demur On Controversial Science Films 2242

Posted by timothy
from the truth-will-out-regardless dept.
circletimessquare writes "The New York Times is reporting that a number of Imax theatres are passing on science-themed films that might provoke controversy among a handful of religious fundamentalists. Films that are having their distribution impacted include '"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.'"
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Imax Theaters Demur On Controversial Science Films

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  • by FlyByPC (841016) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:03AM (#11995609) Homepage
    ...that the theater owners think that showing science films is too controversial or not interesting to the general public...

    ...or that they're probably right.
    • by Jonathan (5011) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:09AM (#11995661) Homepage
      What's weirder is that IMAX theaters normally are *in* science museums. You'd think that the Fundies wouldn't set foot in such "ungodly" places and that the people who do go are those interested in science.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:22AM (#11995760)
        They're probably whining that there's public money involved. (I say "they" but it's probably some lame-ass little group that mass-mails form-letter whines.)

        Present them with an ultimatum: STFU or IMAX theaters will show films about creation. All creation myths, everybody's.

      • I honestly don't see how these science films could be "controversial" to any religious groups? At least not from the descriptions given...
        • by Oracle of Bandwidth (528405) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:42AM (#11995873)
          Well as a self-described fundie I don't really find anything wrong with any of the film titles/descirptions. I mean I suppose there is a slight, slight chance that they are horribly mislabled and are actually hardcore porn, but seriously, I kinda want to see these baised on those descrptions.

          I guess some religious parents might object to their young children being exposed to evolutionary thought, which is my guess as to what they are objecting to. (I didn't say it was a great argument, just my guess as to what it is)
          • by GospelHead821 (466923) on Monday March 21, 2005 @09:58AM (#11998162)
            It wouldn't surprise me at all if your guess isn't too far from the mark. I dated a fundamentalist girl once and when she took me home to meet her parents, a similar issue generated a bit of conflict between her parents and me. They were grilling me on my tolerance of public schools (they had homeschooled their three children) and insisted that my willingness to expose my [future] children to attitudes or beliefs which with I didn't necessarily agree was like throwing my children to a pack of wolves. It wasn't sufficient to be a strong influence on my children's development -- it was, in their eyes, necessary that I be the absolute arbiter of every channel of information they receive.
            • by Gondola (189182) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:04AM (#11998809)
              I think parents *should* be the final arbiter of every channel of information that their children receive.

              I also think it's the parents' responsibility to make their children aware of the real world when they are mature enough to handle it. The parents will not be around forever, and it's their job to make mature, responsible adults out of these overgrown zygotes.

              What use is it to shelter your children from the truth? When you die, your kid will be down in the basement waiting for his food until he starves to death.
          • by artemis67 (93453) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:01AM (#11998782)
            They do sound interesting. I wouldn't mind seeing any of those, either, nor would I mind exposing my kids to them, so long as the programs don't outright mock what I believe. I would view it as an opportunity to discuss with my kids what I believe and why I believe it. Ultimately, my kids have to decide for themselves what they believe about the world around them.

            I don't think that evangelical Christians, by and large, are afraid of the marketplace of ideas. They are used to being the underdog in an ideological war.

            If you look at the public struggles between creationists and evolutionists, the creationists who represent the mainstream Evangelical thought are not trying to remove evolution, they would just like the teaching of evolution to acknowledge that it is not a proven fact, and that there are other schools of thought, an in particular, the possibility of intelligent design.

            As a creationist, I do *not* want the teaching of religion in the public school classroom. Public school teachers have a wide variety of religious beliefs, so what would be the guarantee that they would represent the Christian belief? I rather not even go there.
            • by El Camino SS (264212) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:44AM (#11999315)

              I don't think that evangelical Christians, by and large, are afraid of the marketplace of ideas. They are used to being the underdog in an ideological war.

              Buddy, you're definitely not from Tennessee.

              Where I come from, Christians want to control what you see, hear, and understand in the world.

            • by bfields (66644) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:48AM (#11999382) Homepage
              If you look at the public struggles between creationists and evolutionists, the creationists who represent the mainstream Evangelical thought are not trying to remove evolution, they would just like the teaching of evolution to acknowledge that it is not a proven fact, and that there are other schools of thought, an in particular, the possibility of intelligent design.

              But the problem is that that's insane. Would you also have your science teacher say that the heliocentric theory of the solar system is "just a theory", and that there are other schools of thought, including the "epicycle" theory?

              A responsible science teacher could not stand before a class and say that the evidence for "intelligent design" is anything like on a par with the evidence for evolution. If you don't realize that the evidence is at that level, then you just haven't been paying attention.

              --Bruce Fields

              • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:13PM (#12000693)
                More to the point...

                Teaching in a science classroom that some people believe in the principle of an "intelligent design" teaches children nothing -about science-. The evolutionary model of life has served us well as we've expanded our understanding of biology, zoology, and genetics. Approaching the world scientifically, that is, observing what's observable, formulating a hypothesis, and (to the extent possible) testing that hypothesis has dragged us, inch by inch, from the dark ages to the point in history where we could travel in space, split the atom, and begin to understand a wealth of new mysteries yet to be solved. Science teaches us that -all- our assumptions are subject to revision as new facts come to light. Some of the models we use to understand our world, such as Newtonian Physics, have already proven too simplistic to scale to the world as a whole: but ideas such as these are so time-proven on a practical level, in terms of understanding our world, that they are still good models for understanding how things work. (You don't need special relativity to model the motion of your car, for instance.)

                Think about what the "Intelligent Design" idea really says. What purpose does it have other than to stroke the egos of those who favor this idea? It says that someone intentionally created the world. It doesn't get us any closer to understanding how, or why, or even who. There is nothing in the theory itself that makes it incompatible with the existing idea of evolution, but neither does it add anything to our understanding of the world when taken as an assumption. Really, it is a theory for a -Philosophy- class. That is the proper venue for discussing the implications of -why- the world exists, and other ideas that are, now and in the foreseeable future, far beyond the reach of observation and science.
            • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:52AM (#11999436)
              When the movie "Oh God" was released, a religous person I knew refused to see it if it was "mocking". My response was, and is today, "keep your friends close and your enemies closer". I told him he should go see the movie and make his own decision. He refused to see or read anything that might shake his faith. In my opinion, he therefore had no faith.

              If there exists material (movies, print, etc.) that is contradictory to your believes, then you should not ignore it or ban it, but learn all you can so that you can point out its faults (if any). Trying to sweep it under the carpet only adds credibility. These zealots should see the movies that cast doubt on their beliefs so they can have valid, credible arguments to support their own beliefs in the light of the detractor.

              When any group outright bans something that is contrary to their beliefs, my credence of that thing immediately doubles. Perhaps the problem is that the religous groups are doubting their own beliefs or their faith is not strong enough to survive such a test as people watching a movie.
            • by jdclucidly (520630) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:55AM (#11999487) Homepage
              Intelligent Design has yet to put forth a testable hypothesis. Until it does so, it's not science and by extention, not a theory. Therefore, it has no place in a science classroom.
        • by cbreaker (561297) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:47AM (#11995907) Journal

          When I was growing up as a kid, I never thought that Science and the Bible were necessarily in conflict. Most people believe that the bible represents a guide and isn't to be taken absolutely literally.

          For instance, the whole "God created the Earth in seven days." Seven days could mean seven million years, or seven billion years. It's worded in a way that man can understand. Why do people reject Evolution, when it could have been God that kickstarted the whole thing?

          I can't say that I believe these things anymore but if you can believe that there is an almighty being that created us, why can't you also believe that this being crafted the universe as we know it now, and all the wonders it contains that science as yet to scratch the surface on?

          It's a scary time when the few people with extreme religious views can change the life of everyone to suit their needs.
      • by gilroy (155262) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:29AM (#11995800) Homepage Journal
        Blockquoth the poster:

        What's weirder is that IMAX theaters normally are *in* science museums. You'd think that the Fundies wouldn't set foot in such "ungodly" places

        Fundamentalists no more need to go to a museum to protest it, than they have to attend a mainstream film before denouncing it. They're not looking for a rational engagement using such trite things as facts; they're going for a visceral reaction based on hot-button emotionalism. Thiongs like facts and experience just slow down their game.
        • by Lord Kano (13027) on Monday March 21, 2005 @02:47AM (#11996269) Homepage Journal
          Fundamentalists no more need to go to a museum to protest it, than they have to attend a mainstream film before denouncing it.

          It wasn't religious fundamentalists who protested Mel Gibson's film before they saw it.

          This is a tactic of all thought police, religious affiliation not withstanding.

          LK
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:43AM (#11995878)
        You'd be amazed how many fundies go straight into a planetarium show about the Hubble Space Telescope - in a SCIENCE MUSEUM - and are SHOCKED that it mentions that the Unverse is around 15 billion years old. Then there was the one who complained to the local paper that the show about the Moon mentioned lots of theories about where the Moon came from, but didn't mention how God did it.

        The frustrating thing is that when we get complaints, we still have to be *civil* to our customers, not call them idiots, respect their beliefs, and somehow still defend your decision to run such programming. And it's hard explain your side of the argument while the guy making the complaint just keeps walking out the door with the rest of the audience. It might be natural for us in the science museum profession to want to hide away from the controversy and hope it goes away, but that won't make it get any better. This is a really, sad and frightening trend.
        • by RodgerDodger (575834) on Monday March 21, 2005 @03:43AM (#11996539)
          You are not required to respect their belief.

          You are required to respect their right to _hold_ that belief.

          You, in turn, are permitted to have the belief that their belief is an indication of idiocy. And if they have a problem with that, tell them they're not respecting your beliefs.
      • by Ztream (584474) on Monday March 21, 2005 @05:19AM (#11997019)
        If christians can dictate what should be shown in science museums, then scientists should be able to dictate what should be taught in church. This isn't a school textbook we're talking about.

        (And yes, I know it wasn't their initiative here, but still).
  • it's sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by promantek (866291) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:04AM (#11995618) Homepage
    because this is epidemic of our society in america.

    we lose out on interesting ideas and concepts because they may offend someone. it happens in all levels of education, in business, everywhere.

    this is sad but not suprising.
    • Re:it's sad (Score:5, Interesting)

      by marko123 (131635) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:10AM (#11995670) Homepage
      Sort of what happened in Iran when Khomeini and his religious band of merry men took over the government. Don't worry, American friends, there are many people out there who can relate, and who you can stand beside to fight this scourge.

      They might look like Arabs though :)
  • offensive? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cRueLio (679516) <cruelio@Nospam.msn.com> on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:04AM (#11995619) Homepage Journal
    how is "an underwater epic about the bizarre creatures that flourish in the hot, sulfurous emanations from vents in the ocean floor" offensive in any way?

    we shouldn't let a minority dictate what is right or wrong because we risk having our freedom become the same "freedom" they have in China.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:15AM (#11995719)
      Because everyone knows the fangfish [hamline.edu] is an agent of Beelzebub.

      You can see the homosexual agenda and godless science in its eyes.
    • Re:offensive? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by yog (19073) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:54AM (#11995945) Homepage Journal
      How is it offensive?

      Well, it's been postulated that the anaerobic bacteria which exist in hot, sulfurous ocean floor vents resemble the earliest life. The original life on earth, probably bacteria or similar single cell prokaryotic (lacking in nucleus) organisms, existed in an atmosphere lacking in oxygen. It was only a few billion years later that oxygen-producing organisms began to exist, and the anaerobic life had to adapt or die.

      Basically any film that features this kind of life will by definition be flaunting the theory of evolution in all its glory. This, presumably, offends or threatens the creation literalists.

      People are saying it's a shame that fundamentalists are attacking science in this country. I would add that it's a shame that these idiots have hijacked religion. The bible as allegory is brilliant and holds many lessons in morality with bits of history and culture sprinkled in. The bible as literal word is nonsense that flies in the face of all evidence. To deny evolutionary theory makes about as much sense as claiming the world is flat.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:05AM (#11995623)
    What is wrong with these people?

    Why do they stick their heads in the holy sand all the time, why can't they just accept that people have different views and should be allowed to express them.

    It makes me sick that religious wackos are given all the freedom to worship/teach/live as they please, but fuck everyone else over with their righteous bullshit.

  • Boring (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MavEtJu (241979) <slashdot.mavetju@org> on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:05AM (#11995627) Homepage
    The New York Times is reporting that a number of Imax theatres are passing on science-themed films that might provoke controversy among a handful of religious fundamentalists.

    Wake me up when there is something happening the US which doesn't upset a minority group which goes in search for media attention or takes it to court.
    • Re:Boring (Score:5, Funny)

      by edalytical (671270) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:12AM (#11995685)
      Wake me up when there is something happening the US which doesn't upset a minority group which goes in search for media attention or takes it to court.

      That'll be one hell of a coma. Personally, I would just remove you feeding tube, but that may just perpetuate the problem.

  • Science (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:06AM (#11995636) Homepage Journal
    It really is sad that the documentation of the search for truth is so dangerous to some people. I understand in the need for belief and am a scientist that considers myself religious. However, I also believe that there are truths in the universe that need to be revealed and understand that those truths threaten some people and institutions. The task of the documentary film maker in many ways is similar to that of the scientist, and censorship or concealment of truth harms both of our missions. I also understand that businesses are in the business to make money, but it would be nice if businesses could have enough faith in what they do to stand up and be honest about it. That is unless money is your god, but if that is the case, be honest about it. The unfortunate truth is that money is the most important thing to some folks and they also know that if they revealed it, then they might lose business. You are known by your actions and I would encourage those potential patrons of these theaters who are refusing to show these films to boycott those IMAX theaters who are too scared to show a film that documents scientific discovery.

  • No Animals? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by poopdeville (841677) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:07AM (#11995644)
    OK, I get the Galapagos and Cosmic Voyage films being rejected as controversial, but why would a film about animals living in a harsh environment be controversial? Don't Creationists have enough room in their ontology for animals now?
  • Welcome to America (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:07AM (#11995649)
    Welcome to America, where ignorance isn't just bliss, it's a virtue.
  • ChrisTaliban (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:07AM (#11995652) Homepage Journal
    Who will welcome our new overlords, the ChrisTaliban turning the USA into Afghanistan West? Where are the reasonable Christians who repudiate this demented abuse of our country into a market theocracy in their name? ...tumbleweeds..
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:10AM (#11995672)
    Soon enough American students will not be exposed to scientific methodologies and theory because of the complains of Christian fundamentalists. While the Religious Right will feel their children are pious and enlightened, the rest of the world will progress with our understanding of nature and science. The rest of the world will innovate and prosper, while America will be dragged down into religious strife. Christian fundamentalism will be the death of America.
  • by Gogogoch (663730) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:12AM (#11995684)
    So we have:
    + Christians who are against science
    + Muslims who are against the West and progress
    + Scientologists who believe a SF story
    + Mormons who believe a non-SF story

    Jesus, it makes you wonder....
  • It's a shame... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CarlinWithers (861335) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:13AM (#11995690)
    Religous fundamentalists who clamour against everything and anything that might cause their faith to be questioned misrepresent what religion should be about. The most impressive religious figures are the ones who help others regardless of what their judgement of those people's beliefs are.

    I recently met a girl who chewed me out for accepting evolutionary theory. I was at first shocked, as I thought that the issue of evoultion and religion had been worked out. Then it really bugged me that she could be so backward and regressive in her thinking. Then I finally realised that none of it mattered, I was being just as closed-minded as she was. What was more important was if I just forgot the differences and found a way to get the project we had done without making a big deal out of it.

    • Re:It's a shame... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Monkelectric (546685) <slashdot@@@monkelectric...com> on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:48AM (#11995909)
      I was being just as closed-minded as she was

      Nope. She's an idiot. Being true to the truth requires you to dismiss people now and then. Whereas you have observable phenomenon that have demonstrated evolution occurs, which apparently isn't good enough proof. She has a 2000 year old book with no proof, that is proof enough. Thats bullshit, and stop trying to convince yourself its not for the sake of multi-culturalism.

  • by theolein (316044) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:15AM (#11995713) Journal
    I'm not American, so I can't say how much of a real impact something like this has, but I wonder if this recent rise of very conservative religious fundamentalism in the USA and efforts to stop the presentation of things that contradict their view might not lead to the USA eventually falling beind in key sciences, and, as a consquence, losing its edge in the world of technology.

    While the situation isn't as bad as that Escape from LA movie from the late 80's, there certainly are aspects of that in modern American politics it seems.
  • First off, I am not a religious person.
    But, this is my gripe with them...

    If I had a conversation with one of these people, they want you to embrace their way of thinking... OK fine.

    Yet, when I try to peddle MY truth, its immediately too much to handle, so not right and so horrible they wont hear it.

    I am in the south. This is how these people are.
    but, then they are quick to call themselves open minded. YEAH RIGHT.

    If I cant tell you my truth, and have you at least LISTEN, your not open minded. your a closed minded fool that doesnt deserve to breathe air. its that simple.

    All I ask of these people, is to meet us all half way here. they dont have to like it, and they dont have to agree with it.
    but saying they are 'good, understanding people' is a REAL stretch.

    They DO NOT have to go see these movies....
    yet, they boycott their presence. thats not open minded... that is just religion attempting world domination. their way or the highway.

    Go watch the documentaries. I do.
    Rebel against religious zealots. ....as I watch my Karma plummet....
    • by Generalisimo Zang (805701) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:53AM (#11995934)
      You misinterpreted what they meant by "open minded".

      You, mistakenly, thought that "open minded" meant having an open mind, and being open to new ideas.

      What *they* meant by "open minded" was that they'd no longer accuse you of witchcraft for being different from your neighbors, or throw you in prison for the crime of "blasphemy", or just come by and burn down your house because you're a filthy non-believer.

      The fact that they've allowed you to live, even though you're obviously some sort of eviiil horrible pagan-creationist science-worshipper, shows how open-minded that religious zealots in America have become lately. :)
  • by puppyfox (833883) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:17AM (#11995735)
    It keeps happening! The "PC" culture of this country keeps destroying what's left of the free thought that was painfully conquered a long time ago (I'm not even going to go into free speech).

    It's a battle on two fronts: the religious lobbyist that do things like hindering the teaching of science in schools, and the large corporations that would do anything not to offend anyone for fear of losing a few bucks.

    How do they get away with it? Why don't people say "oh this is horrid, no more IMAX for me". We just can't be bothered anymore: the PC rants (if you say something controversial YOU are at fault), the lack of any real political debates (besides minor economical and odd moral-related issues) since the outlawing of Communism and any other non-majority view, and of course the the vultures of the media that keeps feeding on this whole thing (WHY show that piece about "evolution is just a theory" over and over?).

    I'm an European, and I have no voice in what the American people decide to do, but it's their lack of action and ignorance of the issues at hand that makes me heed this warning: how soon until the free-flying politicians and corporations will do all they wish while you're too busy watching TV? You may have these comfy lives forever, with no blood or guilt on your own hands, but one day you may find yourselves unwilling free citizens of what you yourself would name an "evil empire" if you were on the other side.
  • Science (Score:5, Insightful)

    by panxerox (575545) * on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:22AM (#11995761)
    As a thinking christian (as opposed to the new moronic version of christian) I really despair of this childish rejection of reality (science). Religion has lived with the reality of the world around them for a very long time. I believe now in this time of deep denial about the changing landscape of America and an uncertain future that the more unstable elements in many sects see the rejection of science as somehow bolstering there own flagging faith. A faith that if real in these people would easily be able to encompass science as a wonder of God and not a challenge to him.
  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:24AM (#11995773) Homepage Journal
    It seems this neo-conservatism is nothing more than some Fanatical Religious front not unlike the Muslim Fundamentalists Washington likes to demonize as the root of Terrorism.

    All this crap about faith based this and faith based that coming out of the whitehouse and with a president who openly claims to have a mandate from God... Uhh... I was gonna talk about church and state but, am I the only one here that thinks the President is fucking batshit loco?

    But it's a good thing! Really! Lets embrace our freedom to express fundamentalist Christian religion! Lets ban any science that goes "too far" into ethical grey areas for religious pundits to swallow, lets get the federal government to force a tube down a vegetable's throat... it's nice to have a "conservative" government that wants to regulate our way of life. The Founding Fathers would be proud at this emerging christian police state. And if you voted for Bush I bet you're damn proud too.
  • Evolution offensive? (Score:4, Informative)

    by tji (74570) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:25AM (#11995776)
    Apparently some people were offended by brief mentions of evolution in the documentary about volcanoes (it covered the harsh conditions in the undersea vents, and the life there).

    from the article:

    "some people said it was blasphemous."

    In their written comments, she explained, they made statements 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."
  • you don't get love from a whorehouse.

    likewise, you don't get spirituality from a church/ temple/ mosque.

    but that is ok, because just as there are some who will never know real love due to intellectual or character issues, and therefore need whorehouses to sake their lust that would otherwise drive them insane or drive them to commit horrendous crimes on the street, so to are their spiritual pinheads in this world who need churches/ temples/ mosques to give answer to their doubts and fears, so they don't commit horrible atrocities of spiritual void.

    so the lowest common denominator empty pap we call organized religion is vile, but still necessary. just like whorehouses.

    we don't want ugly or crude men raping women on the streets and we don't want small-spirited people walking around without a sense of morality or a human conscience. if they don't have the spiritual backbone to decide right or wrong, or find the basic goodness in human existence on their own, well then please, let the church turn them into sheep. better sheep than demons without a sense of social responsibility or a clue as to their relationship to human society and the idea of a greater good.

    however, when these spiritual pinheads band together and try to gain political power and enforce their narrowminded interpretation of human nature on everyone else, including those who are spiritually sound on their own, they need to be stopped. in many ways, the consolidation of spiritual pinheads into organized religion and then their subsequent desire to see all of humanity fall in lockstep to their blind interpretation of a given creed is unavoidable, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't head them off at the pass and continually deny them political power over the rest of us who are spiritually grounded all on our very own.

    so organized religion should not be stopped, it is useful to the health of society by satisfying the spiritual needs of those who can't do that on their own. organized religion and the fruits of its passion is even enjoyable in the way a quaint parade in a rural backwards town is enjoyable to a tourist.

    but the cost of accepting that means we must be forever and eternally vigilant that the church, the mosque, and the temple never ever enjoy political power. lest they doom the rest of us to the spiritual zombification that is organized religion.
  • by cgenman (325138) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:31AM (#11995813) Homepage
    It's a good thing too. Whenever science conflicts with preconcieved notions, the only polite thing to do is hide the science. After all, offending or presenting notions contrary to popular belief is not the role of the museum curator.

    Of course, these museums should be patted on the back for doing the right thing despite the obvious monetary benefits to the contrary. They bit the bullet and avoided the temptation to draw controversy, protesters, and the rise in ticket sales that such media attention brings. Then there are the side issues of overcrowding, parking, and a loss of focus on their scientific and educational mission that such things would bring.

    Now we can all safely go back to teaching our children that the creatures at the sulfurous vents at the bottom of the ocean are really demons escaping from hell, souls so small that they slipped through Satan's ever present but large and chubby fingers.

    And on a side note, we're all doomed.

  • by Jerk City Troll (661616) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:35AM (#11995832) Homepage
    While this article discusses something limited in scope (thanks for the spin, Slashfaux), this is becoming more and more common. But who is to blame? We (secularists and freethinkers) are.

    We refuse to affiliate or support organisations which champion our cause. We refuse to be sufficiently vocal about matters of importance to us. We refuse, at the very least, to put our money where our mouths are.

    Let me tell you, with absolute certainty, that the religious fundamentalists are more than happy to do all these things.

    So, when are we going to step up and demand an end to this nonsense?
    • But who is to blame? We (secularists and freethinkers) are.

      We refuse to affiliate or support organisations which champion our cause. We refuse to be sufficiently vocal about matters of importance to us. We refuse, at the very least, to put our money where our mouths are.

      Let me tell you, with absolute certainty, that the religious fundamentalists are more than happy to do all these things.


      Part of the problem is that the people you describe tend towards a libertarian philosophy.. and by "libertarian" here I mean "people who just want to be left the fuck alone," not necessarily Libertarian Party members. And that's just it... libertarian types tend to abhor politics and abhor "getting involved" in general. Which is one reason why it's so difficult for us (and by "us" here I do mean LP members) to achieve results in elections. Many of the very people who sympathise with us, choose not to vote or otherwise involve themselves.

      And in the broader sense, we get the problem you describe. People who care about what's going on, ( Libertarian or otherwise) but not enough to get involved (whether by voting, running for office, writing letters to the editor, or whatever) and act to try and correct things.


      So, when are we going to step up and demand an end to this nonsense?


      I wish I knew the answer to that. Maybe one day the water will get hot enough for the frog to start squirming around - before he boils to death, blissfully unaware.
  • Uh, no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jerf (17166) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:44AM (#11995887) Journal
    I rather strongly suspect that the NYTimes article had all of the religious comments that were recieved, not merely a sampling, or very close.

    The Galapagos Islands one may offend someone, but Cosmic Voyage, unless they are not telling us something, would be objected to only by a total lunatic fringe... which is no problem because every film will be objectionable to some total lunatic fringe, no exaggeration.

    I am not aware of any significant religious group in operation in the United States with any sort of organized, sigificant political clout that has a serious problem with or denies the existance of atoms or galaxies.

    If the Imax documentary industry wishes to commit suicide for a dubious political point, they are welcome to. But all y'all Slashdotters would be wise to not suck it up like little lapdogs getting your world views confirmed; for those of you who would consider your world views confirmed by this story, class it in the "too good to be true" category.

    The primary adjective to apply to anyone ignorant enough to protest atoms or galaxies is just ignorant, not "religious", and I assure you, a lot of very ignorant people agree with any position you care to name.
  • Some numbers (Score:5, Informative)

    by PxM (855264) on Monday March 21, 2005 @02:06AM (#11996035)
    Just so the rest of the world doesn't think that it's a small minority of Americans who are doing this, a set of polls [pollingreport.com] on evolution vs Creationism. The majority of Americans believe that we were created by a god in 6 days 10,000 years ago. The religious right's ability to keep proper science out of the class is starting to bite us in the ass as it will get harder to aprove biotech and other "controversial sciences" for funding. The same scientific ignorance causes Americans to abhorr homosexuality as a sinful path chosen by evil people rather than realizing it's a natural mindset encoded into the brain before birth. My only hope for the science in this country is that someone in the government will realize that we should spend money on education instead of war before the median scientific knowledge of our "first world" country falls below that of "third world" countries.

    --
    Want a free iPod? [freeipods.com]
    Or try a free Nintendo DS, GC, PS2, Xbox. [freegamingsystems.com] (you only need 4 referrals)
    Wired article as proof [wired.com]
  • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Monday March 21, 2005 @02:48AM (#11996271) Homepage
    Rather than respond to a bunch of similarly themed posts I would simply like to point out that Religion and Hard Science are compatible. For example:

    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/astronomy/va tican_observe_000716.html

    "This is our way of finding God," said Consolmagno, author of Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist, published in February by McGraw-Hill.

    The Vatican Observatory is one of the oldest astronomical institutes in the world and the only research group directly supported by the Holy See. The church funds the observatory to the tune of about $1 million a year, leaving its operation to the Jesuits, a religious order whose "charism," or special gift to the church, is scholarship.

  • by mbrother (739193) <mbrother@nospam.uwyo.edu> on Monday March 21, 2005 @02:53AM (#11996297) Homepage
    I'm a professional astronomer and I teach astronomy at a state university. This ticks me off. I don't complain about The Passion of the Christ, or barge into churches to tell them what science has to say. Ignorant fundamentalists shouldn't have any power over what is available for the rest of the country to see, especially when it is educational. Cosmic Voyages is a wonderful film, and I could probably be driven to punch someone in the face if they were stopping it from being shown.

    Flabbergasted.
  • Childhood anecdote (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ballpoint (192660) on Monday March 21, 2005 @04:53AM (#11996910)
    My 4th grade schoolteacher asked me personally (he was the father of one of my friends, so we talked often outside school): "Do you really believe that we, humans, descend from such an ugly animal, an ape ?"

    I explained him (a 10 year old, to a schoolteacher, no less) that no, we humans do not directly descend from the apes that are currently living, but that, according to current and widely accepted current scientific theories, humans and apes do share a common ancestor.

    The repercussions made me lose all respect for authority.
  • Story may be bogus (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats (122034) on Monday March 21, 2005 @04:56AM (#11996935) Homepage
    There are two movies: "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea" [volcanoeso...eepsea.com], and "Aliens of the Deep" [go.com]. They're both IMAX. They're both produced by James Cameron. They're both out now. "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea" is the "educational" version, and "Aliens of the Deep" is the "light entertainment" version, released by Disney. Roger Ebert's review of Aliens of the Deep [suntimes.com] calls it "a convincing demonstration of Darwin's theory of evolution,". So even the "lite" version has evolution.

    The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, which supposedly didn't want to show "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea", is showing Aliens of the Deep [fwmuseum.org].

    The Charleston Science Museum [charlestonimax.com] is also showing Aliens of the Deep.

    "Cosmic Voyage" is from 1996. It's perhaps the biggest zoom shot of all time, starting from the quark level and zooming out to the entire universe over 35 minutes. It wasn't controversial at the time, and it doesn't seem to be that controversial now. Just dated. It's basically a remake of Powers of Ten [amazon.com], by Charles and Ray Eames.

    Galapagos [imax.com] is playing at the IMAX in Fort Lauderdale, FL, along with two other IMAX theaters in the US. It's from 1999. Nobody seems to be that wound up about it.

    It looks like some casual comment by the marketing guy for the museum in Fort Worth has been blown up out of proportion.

    The big problem with "Volcanoes of the Deep Ocean" may be that it's "too educational". There's a teacher's guide, with quizzes and homework assignments. And really, there's a glut of undersea IMAX movies.

  • by Alaska Jack (679307) * on Monday March 21, 2005 @05:46AM (#11997119) Journal
    1. I'm no fundamentalist

    2. This is perhaps the worst-modded /. discussion I've ever read. Stupid little rants and gratuitous religion-bashing are being modded as "insightful" and even "informative." Come on, moderators: The system doesn't exist so you can go "Right on dude! Religion sucks!" and click "insightful."

    3. If this story is legit -- and I'm not at all sure that it is -- the villains aren't the fundies. The villains are the theater managers. TFA doesn't mention any actual protests -- just the *fear* of protests.

    4. Like a few other brave souls in this discussion, I find the story pretty fishy. It reads like a pretty typical liberal alarmist, NYT view of what they *think* all those red-state yokels are like. A few of the things that raise warning flags:

    * Everyone interviewed had the same point of view (there doesn't seem to be even an attempt to get a quote from "the other side");

    * There is no quantification at all (how many people of the 137 in Ft Worth complained? The NYT, oddly, doesn't tell us.)

    *The story notes, about the film "Volcanoes": "On other criteria, like narration and music, the film did not score as well as other films, Ms. Murray said, and over all, it did not receive high marks, so she recommended that the museum pass." So that raises the question -- if it WAS good, then would she have run it? And if so, doesn't that make the whole religious angle moot?

    Etc. I agree with an earlier poster -- these stories just ring true to a certain subset of /. users, because they confirm their pre-set worldviews. The fundies are taking over! BusHitler! TalibafghanistCreationis GACK!!

    - Alaska Jack

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990

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