HSS Newsletter: The Perils of Publicity

The current History of Science Society newsletter has a short piece by Peter Bowler, Janet Browne, and Sandra Herbert, “The Perils of Publicity.” Here they discuss their experience as interviewees for Creation Ministries International’s docudrama, The Voyage That Shook The World:

We have recently been featured in a documentary film, “The Voyage that Shook the World,” produced by Fathom Media of Australia and directed by Stephen Murray of Synergy Films, New Zealand. We were led to believe that the movie was being made to be shown as an educational film on Australian broadcast television and possibly elsewhere. Fathom Media was revealed to be a subsidiary of Creation Ministries International when publicity for the movie began to appear on the internet. We were alerted to the true nature of the movie by James Williams of the University of Sussex shortly before its release in about April of this year.

Read the rest here. Soon after seeing the trailer for the film and blogging about it, I emailed Bowler, Browne, and Herbert. Bowler and Browne emailed back, saying that, yes, they were given a different impression about the film. They asked me, however, not to say anything on my blog. A little while later comes a post on the BBC blog Will & Testament, “Creationists defend Darwin film,” with:

Professor Bowler, who has spent most of his academic career at Queen’s University, Belfast, researching Darwinism, says he is unhappy to be appearing in what he regards as an “anti-Darwinian” film which offers an historically distorted portrait of Darwin. He claims that the film’s narrative implies that Darwin’s theory led him towards racism, whereas recent historical work by James Moore and Adrian Desmond shows that Darwin’s scientific work was partly motivated by the naturalist’s passionate opposition to racism.

John Lynch blogged about it. Now the NCSE has picked up on the HSS piece. And I was asked not to discuss it on my blog! Damn.

5 thoughts on “HSS Newsletter: The Perils of Publicity

  1. I think you should ignore embargo requests from now on. If you have a scoop, hit it.

    I’ve done it. Of course, a low traffic blog like mine doesn’t change the world, but I know.

  2. So in the interests of balanced reporting are you going to comment on the rebuttal to Bowler & Herbert’s claims, posted just recently on the CMI website ?

    “tis very interesting what the full interview transcripts reveal…

  3. http://creation.com/darwin-historians-not-misrepresented (25 July 2009)

    I would like to see how Bowler and Herbert respond, so I have no comments about it now.

    It does not change the fact, however, that interviewees were lied to concerning the nature of the film, that it was a creationist organization. Some people just would rather not concern themselves with creationists, period.

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