Priviledged Planet--film & book

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Thu Jun 02 2005 - 08:32:03 EDT

I have not yet seen the film version of "The Priviledged Planet," but I read
the book with care and much interest last spring. I plan to attend the
Smithsonian event and draw my own conclusions about the film. The only
thing I know about the film in advance is, that it includes an interview
with my colleague Robin Collins. Robin is one of the brightest people I
know, a philosopher of science (his doctoral committee: Bas van Frassen,
Arthur Fine, and Al Plantinga) who also has an ABD in the foundations of
quantum mechanics (grad work at U Texas, some with John Wheeler). He's
presently writing (among other things) a book on fine tuning; he's also
writing a book on the atonement, since he has expertise in philosophy of
religion as well. He and I (with David Foster) co-teach a large class every
other fall term, "Issues in Science and Religion." We are planning to use
the film in class this fall.

As for the book, it is not a "creationist" book, unless we are using that
term to include all members of the ASA--that is, religious people who
believe that the universe is a purposeful divine creation.

If (please note the use of the subjunctive here) the film is close to the
book in content and tone, then it is simply not a creationist film. I share
the suspicion that most of those who object to the film's showing at the
Smithsonian, have done so according to the following "logic":

(1) One of the authors of "The Priviledged Planet" is Jay Richards
(2) Jay Richards works for The Discovery Institute
(3) The Discovery Institute promotes "intelligent design"
(4) "Intelligent design" is "creationism" in disguise
(5) Therefore, "The Priviledged Planet" is a creationist book/film

Now I've been blunt with my friends in the "intelligent design" movement.
The fact that they are willing to jump into bed with genuine "creationists"
in places like Kansas, does leave it open for their critics to charge them
with being "creationists" pure and simple. But (4) is false, and so is (5).
 Even if (4) were true, (5) does not follow. I would be interested to hear
from others who have read the book: do you agree with this commentary?

Received on Thu Jun 2 08:35:12 2005

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