We've been debating the appointment of a new NIH Director (Francis Collins) but ignoring the role that NIH's Office of Science Education plays.
On Wednesday night (tomorrow) they're showing Inherit the Wind and that puts them right smack in the thick of the discussion about science and religion.
I think this is a mistake—NIH should keep their nose out of that debate—but that's not the worst of it. Following the movie they've asked Matt Nisbet to lead a discussion about evolution. Here's how he describes it on his blog.
Following the film, I have been invited to make a few remarks on the evolution debate as it plays out in contemporary culture and the enduring themes from the classic movie. The event and film series is designed to facilitate active audience participation and debate, so I expect there will be some very interesting discussion. For more on the relevant themes related to science and public engagement, see this forthcoming article on "What's Next for Science Communication?"Matt Nisbet? Were all the real scientists too busy? Why didn't they fly in Jerry Coyne for the evening? Or Richard Lewontin? Or Niles Eldredge? Even better, PZ Myers. These are scientists who know and understand science.
P.S. I don't think Clarence Darrow was an accommodationist. I wonder how Matt is going to frame that?