Readers weigh in on big-screen science


The tide is turning for science documentaries that challenge the biblical version of life’s origins. Last month, it came to light that some science museums and theaters were turning down Imax films such as “Volcanoes of the Deep Sea,” reportedly out of concern that they would offend religious sensibilities. This week, the American Association for the Advancement of Science weighed in with “strong concerns” about those reports. And theaters in Fort Worth, Texas, as well as Charlotte, C.C, said they would show “Volcanoes” after all.

In fact, theater managers and film reviewers said that the references to the Big Bang and the origins of life on Earth weren’t that big of a deal — and that the reasons they passed up “Volcanoes of the Deep Sea” had more to do with the criticism that it was “disorienting and pedantic,” or that it was “scary for children.”

Be that as it may, Cosmic Log readers had a lot to say, from both sides of the Darwinian fence. Here’s a representative selection of the feedback:

J. Newman, Columbus, Ohio: “Does it seem we have stepped back 400 years regarding the sciences? Science museums and theaters must now scrutinize or censor exhibits and films out of fear that certain subject matter will offend certain religious sensibilities. Offend, not because the material is bad science, but because it offends a theological viewpoint. It’s a wonder that NASA can still send space probes to Mars, as this might contravene someone’s scriptural worldview. Galileo was forced to recant his views and Bruno was burnt alive for challenging the church’s cosmological doctrine. From the fury of conservative Christians save us, O Lord!”

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