Apr 4, 2005
A growing number of science center Imax theaters are refusing to show documentaries that mention evolution, the Big Bang or geology.
In doing so, they are bowing to pressure from religious fundamentalists.
Any film that contradicts a literal view of the Bible regarding the origin and descent of life or the age of the planet and the universe is fair game for fundamentalist activists.
One film in particular, "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea," was rejected at about a dozen science centers because of brief references to evolution – a well-established, well-accepted scientific theory that has been confirmed over and over and over again in the last 150 years.
Don't let anyone tell you that evolution is "only a theory." Evolution IS a scientific theory – that is, the most reasonable explanation, supported by vast amounts of scientific research and observation. Many things we take for granted every day are based on what are called theories: that the earth revolves around the sun, and not the other way around; continental drift; relativity; and even electricity. The same is true for evolution. Just as with these other theories, the evidence supporting it is overwhelming.
The number of theaters refusing to show the film is not large; but since only a few dozen Imax theaters routinely show science films, the impact is huge.
These are SCIENCE CENTERS, turning down scientifically accurate films carrying well-accepted scientific theory – because they might be too controversial with some religious groups!
The science centers that buckle to this kind of pressure not only betray their stated missions – to educate the public about science. They're also betraying the next generations, leaving them with less of a scientific understanding of the world than the generations that have gone before. At a time when the overall scientific understanding is increasing by leaps and bounds, it's outrageous that so many children will be left so far behind.
It's the same thing that is happening in the education systems in this country: by bowing to religion in science classes, leaving out mountains of evidence gathered and retested in a careful, methodical way – because it might contradict something compiled in a book thousands of years ago – they are leaving the next generations poorer and less competent to understand the world. It's a mark of how bankrupt this system is that such a thing could be true.