“Judgment Day” censored in Memphis?

PBS’s ombudsman takes note of worries that Memphis did not get the NOVA program on the Dover, Pennsylvania trial of intelligent design. “Judgment Day” was not aired in the normal NOVA timeslot.

Station management pleads that they made no decision to censor, just a decision to run supporting program for Ken Burns’ massive film project, “The War,” instead. (HD viewers could see the NOVA program).

Let’s hope that’s accurate.

In the meantime, the letters to the ombudsman give a clear probe into the minds of viewers; favorable reactions were many; more numerous, unfavorable reactions seemed to come mostly from the reason-challenged side of humanity. It’s worth a read.

Sample of the unfavorable:

After tonight’s program on Intelligent Design it proves that PBS has a “design” of its own — it’s one that is driving the country to destruction — your bias is completely counter to history, to the very foundation of our nation and history of nations. Every part from beginning to end had its own objective; completely counter to the Truth which is proven in the rise and fall of nations.

Daryle Getting, Winter Park, FL
It doesn’t take a “Rocket Scientist” to figure out that if we, as humans, evolved from monkeys . . . THEN WHY? . . . Are there STILL Monkeys??? We were “Created” by God!!! Pull up AOL now and you’ll notice the Gov. of Georgia praying for rain, (No Doubt to GOD). When 9/11 happened what did every good neighbor do? PRAY. Not to monkeys . . . To our “Creator”!!! It shouldn’t take tragic and desperate circumstances for people to realize this fact!!! GOD BLESS AMERICA!!! In GOD We Trust!!!

Sonya L. Johnson, North Port, FL

Sample of the favorable:

I just watched your program “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial.” Fantastic! I don’t remember recently watching such an informative and well put together program. PBS deserves to be awarded for this stellar program. Thank you so much for actually airing a program that was intelligent, well put together, and fun to watch. Superb. Atlanta, GA

Am I unfair in labeling some “reason-challenged?” Certainly fact challenged. Look at this one:

The documentary made a good effort to be objective up until the middle of the content. Then it seemed to bring sources that were not used in the trail to push the evolutionary view. This was labeled as a landmark case. Not so. This was a smaller court not a Federal court from what I have found.

How can that show not mention that Congress and the President have passed legislation that allows schools to teach controversial views of science, specifically in reference to evolution, as an amendment to the No Child Left Behind Act? I think they had to know this and left it out because anyone who is familiar with this topic knows about that. Most scientists who are Darwinists have atheistic beliefs just as there are people of faith who support creation or ID. About two years ago a FEDERAL court ruled that atheism is a religion. No one should use someone’s philosophical or religious persuasion to make an issue valid or not. ID will be taught eventually because some of the evidence for it was not shown concerning Information Theory and mostly because it has not come up to a higher court which should rule to uphold the No Child Left Behind legislation.

Ernest Serano, Reno, NV

Well, landmark cases can come from state courts, too, but this was a trial in the Federal District Court. Almost all cases touching on the First Amendment will be moved to the federal side. I’ve never seen anyone else question this easy-to-determine fact.

How can the producers at NOVA not show that Congress passed a law allowing ID to be taught, in the NCLB Act? Well, they stuck to the truth. There is no such requirement or license in law. The writer is grotesquely misinformed. No, no federal court has ever ruled that atheism is a religion — and the case where that canard springs from, Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488 (1961), was decided 46 years ago.

No court will rule in favor of ID because of the NCLB Act — there is nothing in the act to allow junk to be taught to innocent children in place of evolution.

Another tip of the old scrub brush to Pharyngula and P. Z. Myers.

3 Responses to “Judgment Day” censored in Memphis?

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    I don’t think the Wisconsin case in 2005, Kaufman v McCaughry rules atheism to be a religion. That wasn’t at issue in the case, so such a ruling would be awfully odd. Here’s a quick explanation of the case from a relatively unbiased source:

    I have no doubt right-wing religionists say the case rules atheism is a religion, but they’ve been saying that falsely about Torcaso for 46 years, too.


  2. Jackie says:

    Will make it a priority to tape this PBS special and watch. No, you are not reason-challenged :-)…the commentaries from the readers above were funny, however. If dogmatic religious believers have one thing in common, it is passion. They write more letters and yak more about their beliefs. I would also wager that many are older. The silent majority is probably chuckling about it all.
    Surely young folks, with all the media outlets available to them will come to a less linear view of evolution.
    Also, evolution will work against those who hold illogical views… short of a career in televangelism or curator at the Creation Museum in Kentucky, how are they going to move ahead in this world?


  3. doridoide says:

    Actually, there is a case from 2005 in which a federal court of appeals ruled that atheism is a religion {see here}. A fine example of US justice stupidity. The outcome of the case would have been better served if the argument was that the man’s rights were being violated by only allowing religious groups to form in a federal facility, instead of insisting that he had the right to form an atheist group because atheism is his “religion”

    I wish I had the faith in our government to believe that no court would rule in favor of ID because of NCLB… in fact, I think that it’s pretty clear that while Dover was a success, many other districts continue to teach this nonsense, and that there are openings for it in many school districts (and that many state standards allow for it!)

    Here in NM we have to deal with an unpopular decision to teach ID in the Rio Rancho school district… something that hopefully won’t last much longer. I’m afraid that there is little respect for the law or the constitution in this current political environment, and I suspect it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

    As for the NCLB containing a mandate to teach ID, while the Santorum Amendment was watered down, it still leaves the same kind of opening that is in New Mexico’s Standards and allows some districts to interpret it as mandating ID:

    The conferees recognize that a quality science education should prepare students to distinguish the data and testable theories of science from religious or philisophical claims that are made in the name of science. Where topics are taught that may generate contraversy (such as biological evolution), the cirriculum should help students understand the full range of scientific views that do exist, why such topics generate contraversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society.

    We need to stop being in denial over this. The Wedge is already firmly implanted in our education system.


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