On one hand, it seems like the role of something like the Smithsonian, in this or any other issues, should be to present all sides and let the viewer decide. But imagine what kind of hooey that would lead to:
-“So, DID the US fake the moon landing… you’ve heard both sides, now what do YOU think?”
-“Can you cure cancer by watering down folk remedies until there’s less than one molecule left in a cup of water? We don’t take a stand, we’ll let the believers and skeptics speak…”
-“Was Bill Clinton a crack dealer who ordered his political opponents murdered? Here’s a 2 hour video that says he was. Watch it! Then stick around to watch another 2 hour video that says he wasn’t. Then you’ll have the WHOLE picture”.
-“Are black people our genetic inferiors? Some say yes, some say no. Make up your OWN mind!”
I hope you see what I’m getting at. Giving an accurate and complete picture of evolution does not mean having a scientist talk for 30 minutes and then having a creationist talk for 30 minutes. It means having a scientist talk for 50 minutes, then having a sociologist talk for 5 minutes about the creationist movement and the fascinating insights it offers into American culture, then having the scientist talk for 5 more minutes about some common fallacies in creationist arguments.
And, if you (well, not YOU, but someone) says “what, are you AFRAID to let our ideas be heard? huh? why are you trying to silence us?”, to a certain extent, I AM afraid. Would you let a white supremacist group design a one-week curriculum that was taught to 1st graders, which was followed by a one-week curriculum on tolerance and non-racism? I sure as hell wouldn’t want that. And that’s not because I’m afraid that white supremacist views are better than mine. It’s because there are certain seals of imprimateur that should NEVER be officially given to views as hateful, ignorant, or anti-scientific as those, and because a lot of people are dumb. If the dumb people want to seek out and follow creationist beliefs, hey, that’s fine. I’m NEVER going to try to shut down their websites or publishing houses or whatever. Neither will I ever sit idly by while my tax dollars, and while the reputation of the country I love, a country that has been a shining beacon of knowledge and scientific progress, is dragged through their glurgy mud.
(Note: if all that’s happening is that the Smithsonian is renting these people space, then what the heck, who cares? But I got swept up in the discussion…)