Teaching Evolution

A blog devoted to teaching evolution, both in our schools and in our communities.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Challenged by Creationists, Museums Answer Back

It's a shame that it's come to this, but I think museums are right to train their docents "on ways to deal with visitors who reject settled precepts of science on religious grounds."

One company, called B.C. Tours "because we are biblically correct," even offers escorted visits to the Denver Museum of Science and Nature. Participants hear creationists' explanations for the exhibitions.

So officials like Judy Diamond, curator of public programs at the University of Nebraska State Museum in Lincoln, are trying to meet such challenges head-on.

Dr. Diamond is working on evolution exhibitions financed by the National Science Foundation that will go on long-term display at six museums of natural history from Minnesota to Texas. The program includes training for docents and staff members.

"The goal is to understand the controversies, so that people are better able to handle them as they come up," she said. "Museums, as a field, have recognized we need to take a more proactive role in evolution education."

One museum offers this list of answers to frequently asked questions to its docents, which seems like a good thing.

I worry, though, that National Science Foundation money will dry up. The politicial pressure to stop teaching evolution is only going to get worse.

Note: Be sure to check out the New York Times' index of articles on evolution.


At 8:28 AM, Blogger dhodge said...

I would hope that most creationists have better things to do with their free time than go to museums dedicated to the study and presentation of things that they don't even believe in. Of course, by paying admission, they are helping to support the work that they so adamantly oppose. Young earth creationism is such a ridiculous premise that I have to believe (hope?) that it is not a sustainable belief system.

At 8:33 AM, Blogger MDS said...

I would hope it's not. But there are a lot of people out there willing to believe a lot of ridiculous things.

I had never heard of people not affiliated with a museum giving tours of it. I wonder if I could start up a tour company of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, where I tell everyone which unappreciated players aren't in but should be and which overrated players are in who don't belong.

At 10:23 AM, Blogger dhodge said...

I heard something about a group of creationists doing tours of the Galapagos Islands, presumably to refute Darwin's discoveries. I don't know if this is true.

I think that you should definitely start the Pro Football Hall of Fame reality tour.

At 10:42 AM, Blogger Justin said...

Or perhaps we could start tours of the Intelligent Design Museum, or whatever the shit it's called.

"To your left are some of the less-developed specimens of Homo sapiens. You can tell by their lack of critical-thinking skills and their Dale Earnhardt Angel jacket."

Low blow. Whatevs.

At 11:15 AM, Blogger dhodge said...

Earnhardt rules! Jeff Gordon sucks!


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