March 19, 2005

The Marketplace of Bad Ideas

Greg sent me a link to this story in the New York times about how some IMAX theaters are refusing to show certain movies because they might offend their viewers by describing scientific fact which contradicts their religious belief.

IMAX theaters and museums in areas with Christian fundamentalist populations are afraid that people will avoid the films or worse. You can see the snowball effect here, right? If a movie can’t be marketed at certain theaters, that lowers it earning potential. While the Boston MoS, New England Aquarium and Providence IMAX theaters might have no problem showing the film, the pressure on future film productions is obvious. The marketplace will cater to the lowest common denominator.

Luckily, science isn’t a marketplace whose currency is how reassuring an idea is or whether it conforms to religious belief. Even so, it would be a sad loss if films could not reflect our scientific understanding of the world because of economic pressure from a few. It would be sad if “educational” entertainment becomes that much less educational.

Posted by James at March 19, 2005 10:22 AM
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This, of course, is infuriating. I suppose we're a step ahead of our not-so-distant past, however, in which scientists with opinions conflicting with religion were put to death. I'm trying to look on the bright side, because it's very depressing.

Posted by: Maggie at March 19, 2005 3:08 PM

appalling, simply appalling to think that scientific fact can still be supressed by religion. its times like these where us blue-staters really feel in the minority.

next up: blue-states will now be referred to as the Pagan States while the red states will be forever known as the Better-Than-You-Godless-Pagans-States-'Cause-We're-Going-To-Heaven States

Posted by: ryan at March 20, 2005 3:57 PM

They're welcome to heaven. The music is better in hell.

Posted by: B.O.B.(bob) at March 21, 2005 8:06 AM

Wow, who knew there were gangsters forcing people at gunpoint to attend movies that offend them!

Speaking of movies that may is Russ Meyer's birthday.

Posted by: Patti M. at March 21, 2005 8:40 AM

It's more of a marketplace problem. Is it still OK to use the term "red states?"

In any case, if there are places in the country where science doesn't get any play, it becomes less profitable to make these films. And these are commercial ventures, mostly. Sometimes there is government funding, but the films don't get made if theyt can't make some money.

In this way, the progression of dumb ideas (and I consider superceding science on religious grounds a dumb idea) can snowball.

Most christians have no problem reconciling the empirical world with their faith. Science isn't trying to do anything to christianity, it is a specific faction of christianity which has chosen to contradict science rather than coexist. Rather than choose to believe that the universe is unfolding in a certain way according to rules, they adopt a rigid interpretation of the Bible and insist that it can't have happened without god's constant intervention, or, even more strictly, in seven days like the Bible story goes.

Posted by: James at March 21, 2005 9:09 AM

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