Welcome to ARN-Announce
by Dennis Wagner
Number Seventeen, September 20, 2001
ARN-Announce is the on-line announcement and information service of Access Research Network. ARN generates announcements to the current ARN Announce list as information becomes available. You have received this message because your email address was submitted to this list. Subscription and Unsubscription information is at the end of this message.
IN THIS ARN-ANNOUNCE:
- PBS Launches New Evolution Video Series September 24-27, 2001
- ARN Launches PBS Evolution Analysis Web Page
- Discovery Institute Launches PBS Viewers Guide and web analysis site
- John Mark Reynolds and Josh Gilder report on PBS Evolution Press Conference
PBS LAUNCHES NEW EVOLUTION VIDEO SERIES SEPTEMBER 24-27, 2001
The PBS Evolution Propaganda Band
(sung to the tune of Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band with thanks to John Lennon & Paul McCartney)
It was twenty years ago today,
Carl Sagan taught the band to play
Hes been going in and out of style
But hes guaranteed to raise a smile.
So may I introduce to you
The act you've known for all these years,
The PBS Evolution Propaganda Band.
We're PBSs Evolution Propaganda Band,
We hope you will enjoy the show,
We're PBSs Evolution Propaganda Band,
Sit back and let your young minds go.
PBS Evolution, PBS Evolution,
PBSs Evolution Propaganda Band.
It's wonderful you could be here,
It's certainly a thrill.
You're such a gullible audience,
We'd like to go to school with you,
We'd love you to take us home.
I don't really want to stop the show,
But I thought that you might like to know,
That Stephen Gould is going to sing a song,
And he wants you all to sing along.
So let me introduce to you
The one and only Paul Allen
And PBSs Evolution Propaganda Band Show.
On September 24, PBS will launch an 8-hour documentary series promoting Darwinism. The program is to be aired on PBS September 24-27, 2001 from 8:00 -10:00 p.m. each night (www.pbs.org/evolution/). As with the Carl Sagans Cosmos series two decades ago, the PBS Evolution Project comes across more as evangelism for the Darwinian worldview, then as rigorous, undebatable science. We think this program offers a great opportunity to teach your children and your students critical thinking skills, so in keeping with ARN's goals of open and honest academic debate, we want to let you know about some key resources in this issue of ARN-Announce that you can use when watching the series. The most significant resource is a 156 page Viewers Guide developed by Discovery Institute, which we will describe in more detail below.
The WGBH/NOVA Science Unit has been at work for more than two years on this series with over $14 million of backing from ex-Microsoft baron Paul Allen. In fact the eight-hour TV series was produced by Allen's film studio, Clear Blue Sky Productions, and Allen has financed the series' ultra-slick Web site, a companion textbook, and teaching manuals for the "cadres of teachers who are going out to the public school system to explain to them how to counter student questions about evolution."
According to Evolutions producers, their guiding vision has been to convey the importance of evolution to a general viewing audience. Evolution affects almost every aspect of human life, the producers believe. From medicine to agriculture to a persons choice of mate, evolution touches our daily lives in extraordinary ways. Having a grounding in evolution is key to our understanding of so many issues around us. The program is billed as straightforward science that examines empirically-testable explanations while avoiding the religious realm. This will be your first critical thinking skill test. How well does the PBS Evolution series hold to this claim?
On September 24 the series will launch with a two-hour opening episode. On each successive night two one-hour episodes will be shown back-to-back:
- Episode One: Darwins Dangerous Idea (2 hours)
- Episode Two: Great Transformations (1 hour)
- Episode Three: Extinction! (1 hour)
- Episode Four: The Evolutionary Arms Race (1 hour)
- Episode Five: Why Sex? (1 hour)
- Episode Six: The Minds Big Bang (1 hour)
- Episode Seven: What About God? (1 hour)
We are encouraging everyone to watch PBS Evolution. We could not have produced a better tool to convince the public that this brand of evolution is not about science, but about promoting the worldview of Darwinism. But we hope you prepare yourself with the critical thinking tools described below, before you turn on the tube and partake of the PBS Evolution Propaganda Band Show.
ARN LAUNCHES PBS EVOLUTION ANALYSIS WEB PAGE
For the next several months the ARN home page (www.arn.org) will have a prominent area devoted to critical analysis of the PBS Evolution TV series. Here you will be able to find links to PBS relates sites, a downloadable copy of the Discovery Institute Viewers Guide, and a host of articles and resources providing critical analysis of the PBS Evolution program and Darwinism in general. Also be sure to visit the ARN Discussion Forum for a daily interactive dialog on PBS Evolution and other current issues:
DISCOVERY INSTITUE LAUNCHES PBS VIEWER'S GUIDE AND WEB ANALYSIS SITE
Our research partners at Discovery Institute have prepared an exhaustive 156 page Viewers Guide to PBSs Evolution entitled Getting the Facts Straight. This is the most significant and well documented to response to the series available to date.
A hard copy of the Viewers Guide can be ordered soon at www.amazon.com ($7.95 suggested list price) or you can view or download a pdf version of the document at the ARN PBS page at http://www.arn.org/docs/pbsevolution/vguide.pdf
Discovery Institute has also hosted a dedicated web site for the PBS Evolution series, which can be found at www.pbsevolution.org. Their subtitle A Magnum Opus for a Dying Theory says it all.
There are two points that ARN readers will especially appreciate about the Discovery Viewers Guide. First is the careful documentation and exhaustive references. The authors provide numerous references to original sources and conflicting scientific evidence when critiquing PBS Evolution. And many of the references include online sources, making it easy for viewers at home or school to access the material. Second, the authors have included an appendix with eight classroom-ready activities that can be used to teach students critical thinking skills while watching the series.
In addition to a detailed analysis of each episode that critically looks at each argument presented, segment-by-segment, the Viewers Guide offers this summary of the major shortcomings of PBS Evolution:
- Its failure to present accurately and fairly the scientific problems with the evidence for Darwinian evolution.
- Its systematic omission of disagreements among evolutionary biologists themselves about central claims in the series, and its complete failure to report the views of scientists who dispute Darwinism at its roots.
- Its excessive and biased focus on religion, despite its insistence to be about science rather than the religious realm.
- Its inappropriate use by PBS, a government-funded agency, to organize and promote a controversial political action agenda.
JOHN MARK REYNOLDS AND JOSH GILDER REPORT ON PBS EVOLUTION PRESS CONFERENCE
PBS launched their Evolution Project this summer with a press conference held on July 26 at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, California. The noteworthy promoters did their best from the beginning to pass this off as science, just science. But John Mark Reynolds and Josh Gilder were able force the foxes from the hen house with a few penetrating questions. You can read their first-hand reports at:
You can also find the Washington Post report of the event by Lisa de Moraes on our PBS Evolution page at http://www.arn.org/pbs_evolution0901.htm
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