Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Evolution Exhibit in Toronto

The Toronto Star has a story on a new exhibit on Charles Darwin and evolution at the Royal Ontario Museum. The exhibit dwells not just on Darwin but on the controversy surrounding his theory on natural selection. As the Star writer Geoff Pevere notes:

Small wonder Darwin himself sat on the revelation for years before publishing it. He knew what was coming. As he wrote in a letter, he felt like he was "committing murder."

While there remains much dispute as to just what Darwin killed or how effectively he did so, at the very least he strangled the notion that history might have contained that fabulously dramatic moment when men went spear to talon with T-rex. Never happened. At least not in nature. But who needs nature (or Charles Darwin) when you've got movies?

Yet there may be no country in the world other than America where a movie featuring both dinosaurs and people would be regarded as the truth.

Consider the statistics. According to Susan Jacoby's recent book The Age of American Unreason, which singles out certain anti-Darwinian strains in American culture as an especially egregious example of the country's drift away from rationalism, "Fewer than half of Americans – 48 per cent – accept any form of evolution (even guided by God), and just 26 per cent accept Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. Fully 42 per cent say that all living beings, including humans, have existed in their present form since the beginning of time."

Yup. The continual problem. Much like the clerics who would not look into Galileo's telescope, it isn't that most people don't know anything about evolution, most people don't want to know anything about it. The exhibit opened on March 8.

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