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Intelligent Design Watch
Monday, 28 May 2007
Not with a Big Bang, but a Whimper

The crowd at today's opening of Answers in Genesis' creationism displays was a vocal protest against misinformation by the museum. While the message of the protest rally was a bit diluted by extraneous political views, the main message was clear: many concerned citizens of Kentucky and Ohio agree that the displays are not scientific and are designed to undercut any science that contradicts a biblical literalist view of natural history.


I wasn’t part of the rally. I stood across the road from the citizens with signs, not because I disputed their views (though one lady thought I was a protestor against the protest), but because the views of most scientists I've heard from, and by the science societies I work for, were simply that the Answers in Genesis displays weren't scientific, and that public school students shouldn't be confused about science by them.


I was there to find reporters and introduce them to scientists, and certainly some scientists attended the rally. But though reporters abounded, I stood across from the rally on a muddy roadside by myself for a while. This didn't surprise me: the scientists who felt politically and were open to sharing their views were already across the road, and the shy ones who would rather get on with their science tended to stay at home. It's not that I feel scientists should not participate in the civic discussion – I think more scientists, with their wealth of knowledge about our machines, processes, bodies and systems, should feel a strong duty to make the knowledge accessible to the public and governing bodies. But the protest rally was a mix of messages.


The attendance was not as frantic as it was on the sneak preview day on Saturday, and perhaps people of faith don't feel so ardently that they need their views proved by science, as the folks from Answers in Genesis seem to think.


However, to the starry-eyed local TV reporters I just watched, the opening was a great success, but plagued with protesters. A local news anchor mentioned that the police even deployed mounted officers. As I recall, all the protestors politely cheered the pretty horses as they tramped down the road. One troubling note comes from the Cincinnati CBS station's report: a student visiting the displays said that his public school biology teacher had encouraged him to come. Let's hope it was in the spirit of learning what is –and isn't – science.




Posted by martha_heil at 11:52 PM EDT

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