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Museum curator on allowing “a foot in the door” on origins questions


A friend writes to say that a museum curators’ journal article, “Curating creation: allowing ‘the divine a foot in the door’ of Leeds City Museum?” by Elizabeth Carnegiea ( Museum Management and Curatorship v 29, no. 5) advises (Abstract):

This article examines critical and visitor responses to a section on ‘alternative’
creation stories located within Life on Earth, a science-led natural history gallery, at Leeds Museums and Galleries, UK. This section, by inviting visitors to express alternative creation stories, appears to allow ‘a foot in the door’ of the science-led gallery to non-fact-based religious beliefs. The museological debates surrounding this inclusion offer broad insights into the tensions between fact-based, and essentially secular, interpretations within museums displays and the relationships that an increasingly multi-faith public have or can expect to have with the museum as a provider of and location of, knowledge. A consideration of the visitor comments suggests that the public are less concerned with the appropriateness of museum categories than they are with taking the opportunity to express their own thoughts and beliefs.

(Note: The “foot in the door” reference is to Lewontin’s Divine Foot in the door, which must be excluded even at the cost of believing “ patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.”)

Yeah. Reminded me of something, and here it is:

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.

*For an informative account of the role of museums in the spread of evolution as a religion, see Michael Ruse, The Evolution Wars: A Guide to the Debates (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2000), pp. 103–05. For his own ambivalent view, see pp. 113–14.


as a friend reminds us,

In May 2000, Michael Ruse (philosopher of science, and atheist) wrote:

“Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion–a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint–and Mr. Gish is but one of many to make it–the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.”– Ruse, M., “How evolution became a religion: creationists correct? Darwinians wrongly mix science with morality, politics”, National Post,pp. B1, B3, B7 (May 13, 2000)

Ruse is actually the best known Darwinian philosopher, and much appreciated for his honest and cynical admission of the facts in these matters.

Ruse seemed (just a subjective opinion) quite comfortable with the situation, despite his protestations. For one thing, it enabled science writers and museum curators alike to wave pom poms enthusiastically instead of address non-Darwinian facts about our origins.

It’s not true, of course, that Darwinian interpretations are based on fact. They are based on naturalism. Conflicting facts must yield. This is especially true when human evolution is discussed, where fact bases are simply reinterpreted to support the overall thesis that man is the trousered ape.

On the whole, it is best to treat museum presentations on origins issues as one would campaign flyers during an election. May be worth believing, may be not.

See also: Human origins: The war of trivial explanations

Why human evolution happened only once: the question no one has to answer

A deep and abiding need for Neanderthals to be stupid. Why?

Note also museum Dawin frauds

O’Leary for News

Seversky its not religious accounts! its about accuracy in origins. Different conclusions from sources including witnesses from scripture and investigative abilities. Defining as religion creationists stuff is a accusation its not founded in the same quality of investigation of nature as the others. Its about conclusions and how one arrives at them. Evolutionists have no veto power over the rest on whether the conclusions are not founded well. creationism iNSISTS its as sciency as evolutionism. in fact its more and better. no censorship or thought control is morally allowable in a free nation. Robert Byers
Not that silly Lewontin quote again! If the question is, should religious accounts of origins be included in a museum gallery that is dedicated to the science of natural history, I would say, strictly speaking, no. It could mislead visitors into thinking that the aforementioned religious accounts have some degree of scientific credibility, when that is not actually the case. Having said that, it's really no big deal if they wanted to do that. As for Lewontin's "foot", it's more in his mouth than in the door. The "door" is actually wide open to any scientific case that can stand on its own two feet. The fact that Intelligent Design/Creationism doesn't have a scientific leg to stand on is not the fault of science. Seversky
Who owns the door! The door belongs to the people and excluding them is moral usurpation of their moral rights to discuss and teach the truth. Who decides what the facts are? Censorship is absurd in a intelligent free nation. Its also immoral and illegal. Come on Brits and stand up for your rights. Where is Cromwell when you need him? Robert Byers
"non-fact-based"... Isn't this the section where evolution, multi verse theory and global warming are supposed to be? humbled
OT: InspiringPhilosophy has a new video up: Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism (An Introduction) - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpQ1-AGPysM bornagain77

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