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Friday, October 07, 2005

Intelligent design and popular culture: Museum docents to be trained to respond to "creationists"

Apparently, some members of the public are beginning to challenge museums, which philosopher of evolution Michael Ruse has identified as promoting a religion of Darwinism:

Evolution after Darwin had set itself up to be something more than science. It was a popular science, the science of the marketplace and the museum, and it was a religion—whether this be purely secular or blended in with a form of liberal Christianity … When believers in other religions turned around and scratched, you may regret the action but you can understand it—and your sympathy for the victim is attenuated. (Michael Ruse, The Evolution Wars: A Guide to the Debates (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2000), p. 114.)
Acording to Science Daily:

Now museum lecturers and docents say they are being frequently confronted by small groups of creationists eager to vocally challenge evolution, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Apparently, staff at six museums will be offered training in responding to this situation. It will be interesting to see how that turns out.

Warren Allmon, director of the Paleontological Research Institute, an affiliate of Cornell University, said he encourages his staff to emphasize the fact that science museums live by the rules of science, and all science knowledge is provisional -- subject to being revised when better answers are discovered, the Times reported.

Okay, does that mean that the public will ever be told about situations where Darwinist icons have been challenged? Or does it just mean that the docents will be taught a patter about all science knowledge being provisional?

What I find interesting is that for years science boffins crabbed that the public did not care about science. Now they do. So now the boffins seem to be in panic mode. Some folk are not easily pleased.

The Museum of the Earth at Ithaca, New York, offers its guide online. In it we read,

Modern creationism frequently focuses on what its advocates describe as scientific evidence for creationist interpretations, labeled most often as "creation science" or, most recently, "intelligent design theory". Although it is perfectly legitimate for a person to hold and promote creationist beliefs, there is no scientific evidence for such beliefs, and they are not scientific by any reasonable definition of science, a point repeatedly affirmed by state and federal courts, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court.
Now, just how that guide, written by Warren Allmon himself, is going to do anything but anger people who know the facts about the intelligent design challenge to Darwinism/naturalism, is beyond me. (Note: If you click on the Museum of the Earth link, you may not be able to use your back browser button to get back here.)

See also the original New York Times story. (Note: If you click on that link, be sure to click on the html version if you think you might want to come back here using your back browser button.)

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