The Smithsonian Institution screened the film The Privileged Planet late last month, but it is feeling less than privileged after the controversy surrounding the showing. Jay W. Richards, one of the authors of the book on which the film is based, is vice president of the Center for Science & Culture at the Discovery Institute, a pro-intelligent design think tank. The film makes astronomy-based arguments for intelligent design, and the Smithsonian has drawn criticism from groups such as the American Geophysical Union for showing it.

Narrated by Hollywood actor John Rhys-Davies, the film's main thesis is that Earth is the best place in the universe for making scientific discoveries because of its astronomical placement and its ability to support life. "It seems then that whatever the source of the Universe, it was intended that it contain observers who can discover," says Guillermo Gonzalez, an astrobiologist and coauthor of the book...

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