October 12, 2007 | David F. Coppedge

Microsoft Billionaire Puts His Money Where His Darwinism Is

Paul Allen is spending millions on humanitarian causes: not the cure of disease or the end of poverty, but on helping humans recognize that they evolved from space dust (see next entry).  This, presumably, brings enlightenment.
    Shortly after 9/11, the PBS series Evolution made its debut, thanks to a large endowment from Allen, co-founder of Microsoft (09/24/2001).  Now, according to News Blaze, his money is backing a NOVA production that will try to head off at the pass the non-evolutionary idea of intelligent design.  Allen’s version of the Dover trial, Kitzmiller vs. Dover School District will, judging from the producer’s statements, the film, Judgment Day, side with the plaintiffs who called intelligent design a “thinly veiled form of creationism, the view that a literal interpretation of the Bible accounts for all observed facts about nature.”  This stands in contrast to evolution, naturally, which amounts to established scientific fact:

“Judgment Day captures on film a landmark court case with a powerful scientific message at its core,” said Paula S. Apsell, NOVA Senior Executive Producer.  “Evolution is one of the most essential and least understood of all scientific theories, the foundation of biological science.  We felt it was important for NOVA to do this program to heighten the public understanding of what constitutes science and what does not, and therefore, what is acceptable for inclusion in the science curriculum in our public schools.”

This fits with the mission of Allen’s company, Vulcan Productions.  It is devoted to producing films that explore “creative opportunities that result in engaging and inspirational storytelling

“Vulcan Productions has long been committed to the subject of evolution and its teaching,” remarked Vulcan Productions Executive Producer, Richard Hutton.  “When we co-produced the Evolution series with the WGBH Science Unit in 2001, we set out to bring the richness of Darwin’s theory to life.  The story of the Dover trial gives us another opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to helping audiences understand the nature of science through elegant and compelling storytelling.

To make sure some observational evidence can back up the storytelling, Allen supported the construction of a radio telescope array for SETI at Hat Creek, California – the Allen Telescope Array (see 08/17/2007).  42 of the planned 350 six-meter dishes are in place – enough to start getting some work done.  New Scientist reported that the facility has just begun operations.  It will spend half its resources doing routine astronomy surveys, but the priority is on SETI (the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence).  “Crucially, SETI astronomers will be able to commandeer the telescope for their own exclusive use when necessary,”  the article said.  Jill Tarter of the SETI Institute added, “I’ll also have some time when I can say, all right, now SETI is going to decide where to point the telescope.”

The Darwin Party Vulcans and the Intelligent Design Visigoths are fighting an uneven battle in the media.  Paul Allen’s prior Evolution film project was thoroughly debunked by the Discovery Institute (see ReviewEvolution.com), and the Dover trial propaganda was thoroughly dismantled in their book Traipsing into Evolution.  Don’t expect to see any of this detailed analysis and damaging information included in the Vulcan film.  By their own admission, they are not committed to telling the truth, but to “compelling storytelling.”  Hasn’t that been the problem from the beginning of the Darwin wars? (12/22/2003).  Unfortunately, multibillionaires are in short supply to fund ID films (e.g., Illustra Media, which operates on a shoestring).  Fortunately, ID films tend to be far more credible to viewers and tend to get widely distributed via word of mouth advertising.
    When watching Star Trek, most people realize that Vulcan Spock’s dispassionate logic is just part of the fantasy.  Don’t expect any logic from the Darwin Party Vulcans at the SETI Institute if they find an unexplained signal in an Allen dish some day.  While inferring that they found an intelligent signal that was designed, they will conclude that the creatures with whom they are communicating evolved from space dust (12/03/2005).  That’s only logical if you mind-meld with a rock.

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