seems there's a battle brewing between proponents of "separation of church and state" and "separation of science and commerce."WOODS HOLE - It seemed innocuous enough: a 40-minute movie about underwater volcanoes that briefly mentions life on Earth may have arisen from the sea.
But the 2003 IMAX film ''Volcanoes of the Deep Sea,'' whose producer consulted with scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and used its Alvin submersible to film the underwater volcanoes, has been banned by some theater owners and managers in the Bible Belt because it briefly mentions the theory of evolution.
The controversy, coupled with a nascent effort to include teaching ''intelligent design'' alongside evolution in public school curricula, has helped thrust the long-running battle between religion and science back into the limelight.
Proponents of religion argue that evolution is ''theory,'' not fact. Supporters of science point to the time-tested underpinnings of Darwin's theory of evolution, a pillar of the modern life sciences since it was introduced in the mid-19th century.
The evolution reference in ''Volcanoes,'' which includes footage filmed from Alvin at depths of more than 12,000 feet, prompted officials of more than a dozen IMAX theaters to ban the film. Previews indicated some audiences found the big-screen movie blasphemous because it contradicts the biblical account of how life on Earth began.