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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Museum exhibit on evolution is one-sided

A Philadelphia Inquirer news article about a traveling evolution exhibit that originated in the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City said:

Though preparations began before controversy erupted in Dover, Pa., the exhibit nevertheless devotes ample space to the debate.

A continuous video loop features various biologists explaining how Darwin's theory is supported by science, contrary to the concept (supported by the Dover school board) that the diversity of species is the work of an intelligent designer.

The designers of the exhibit cannot claim that there is no debate, because they did give one side of the debate. They should either give both sides of the debate or neither. An article in Natural History, a magazine published by AMNH, presented both sides of the debate, so why shouldn't an AMNH exhibit also present both sides?

Also, the second quoted sentence from the news article is biased because it said that Darwin's theory is supported by science but mentioned only the Dover school board as support for intelligent design. The article failed to note that intelligent design (as well as other criticisms of evolution theory) is at least supported by scientific observations and some scientists. Actually, it might not even be correct to say that ID was "supported" by the Dover school board, because some of the board members said that they did not bother to learn about ID because it was not actually being taught to the students.

There are other examples of bias in the news article. The following statements in bold should have been presented as opinion rather than as fact:

The state of science knowledge in this country particularly vexes Eldredge, the exhibit curator, whose own work has been erroneously used by creationists to discredit Darwin.

Working with the late Stephen Jay Gould, Eldredge proposed that evolution was not a steady, gradual process, as Darwin believed, but one marked by bursts of activity in between long periods with little change. Yet that is a minor disagreement in the context of a widely accepted theory that shaped modern biology.

Also, the news article said of Judge John E. Jones III, who decided the Kitzmiller v. Dover case,

Jones himself later saw the show in New York and may see it again in Philadelphia, he said in an telephone interview.

"It's very hard to get Charles Darwin out of my mind," Jones says.

It's very hard to get Charles Darwin out of his mind, he says? According to Red State Rabble, that is not what he said in a speech at Kansas University on September 26:

Despite intense interest in the case, Jones did not say much in his talk about the Dover trial, the details of which, he said, were rapidly receding from his memory as he hears and rules on new cases.

"There are only so many parking stalls in your head," he joked. "You have to make space for new cars to pull in."

If Jones got rid of some of the rocks in his head, he would make more room for ideas.

Also, during the Dover trial, Jones said that he was considering seeing again the historically inaccurate movie "Inherit the Wind" to help give him a "historical perspective" that might help in deciding the case. The movie pokes fun at fundies who oppose Darwinism. So outside of court, Jones has apparently been getting just a one-sided view of the debate. To get a more balanced picture, maybe Judge Jones should visit the creation museum that is scheduled to open in Kentucky next year. Who knows, he might even some day regret his decision to rule on the scientific merits of intelligent design and irreducible complexity.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

The idiot tries and fails again.

It is a science, not a religion or mythology museum. Creationism and Intelligent design are not science. They cannot be tested.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 3:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They should either give both sides of the debate or neither.

That sounds fair. We should also let Holocaust deniers write their side in history schoolbooks, and flat earthers should not be denied their side in astronomy textbooks. Fact is, the "debate" about evolution is not a scientific debate, but a PR campaign intended to foist religious beliefs on public schoolchildren. Have you read the "Wedge Document" Mr. Fafaran? Cheers, zilch

Friday, October 20, 2006 7:33:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous said...

>>>>>They should either give both sides of the debate or neither.

That sounds fair. We should also let Holocaust deniers write their side in history schoolbooks, and flat earthers should not be denied their side in astronomy textbooks. Fact is, the "debate" about evolution is not a scientific debate, but a PR campaign intended to foist religious beliefs on public schoolchildren. Have you read the "Wedge Document" <<<<<

In many controversies, one or both sides believe that the other side's position is unarguable, but that is not a good reason to not present both sides. As for the "wedge document" thing, that is just guilt by association.

Friday, October 20, 2006 3:04:00 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

I went to the Planetarium on the weekend. I was very dissapointed that they didn't mention anything about the science of Astrology.

Monday, October 23, 2006 3:45:00 AM  

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