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PBS Yanks Science Film on Intelligent Design From Website

SEATTLE, JAN. 7 — PBS has pulled from its website a science film examining the theory of intelligent design, after selling the film for two years on its website, and airing it on dozens of PBS stations across the country.

“It’s chilling that suddenly in the midst of a national debate over intelligent design PBS, funded by taxpayer dollars, decides to suppress an educational film that provides a scientific examination of the theory,” said Rob Crowther, director of communications for Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. “At a time when many in the public are wondering what intelligent design theory is, here comes PBS deciding what the public will learn about intelligent design and what it won’t.”

“This really begins to smack of message suppression, when you realize how much PBS invests in promoting Darwinian evolutionary theory,” said Crowther. “With all the millions and millions of dollars PBS has spent during the past few years producing and airing the Evolution series, and training teachers how to use it the classroom, you have to wonder why they are discriminating against a science film that has a different view of the evidence.”

According to Crowther, the film was available for purchase on the PBS.org website as recently as Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2005. Earlier this week, New Mexico PBS affiliate KNME cancelled “Unlocking the Mystery of Life,” which was originally scheduled to air Friday, Jan. 7 at 9pm. The decision resulted in the station coming under fire in the media for censoring science. Calls on Friday to PBS’s media relations office and to public relations vice president Lea Sloan were not returned.

“In response to KNME’s decision to ban Unlocking I pointed out that the film was available on PBS’s national website and had aired in almost all of the top media markets across the country such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami and elsewhere,” said Crowther.

KNME is now claiming that Crowther was intentionally spreading misinformation, which Crowther denies, pointing out that Discovery Institute has posted images that prove his statement on its blog at www.evolutionnews.org.

“With all the pressure KNME has been under for such blatant censorship I suspected that the station would eventually get desperate enough to start making claims like this,” Crowther said. He added that station manager Chad Davis was unavailable to discuss the situation when contacted.

“Unlocking the Mystery of Life” is a 58-minute program exploring what DNA reveals about the origin of life and documents how some scientists are skeptical about naturalistic explanations for the origin of genetic information and looking to theories of design instead. Employing state of the art computer animation and other visuals, the documentary follows the development of intelligent design theory through interviews with key design scientists such as biochemistry professor Michael Behe of Lehigh University, biologist Dean Kenyon of San Francisco State University, mathematician William Dembski of Baylor University, microbiologist Scott Minnich of the University of Idaho, and Cambridge-trained philosopher of science Stephen Meyer.

For more information on Unlocking the Mystery of Life please visit Discovery Institute’s website at www.discovery.org/csc/.

Discovery Institute

Discovery Institute promotes thoughtful analysis and effective action on local, regional, national and international issues. The Institute is home to an inter-disciplinary community of scholars and policy advocates dedicated to the reinvigoration of traditional Western principles and institutions and the worldview from which they issued.