3.22.2006

Darwin's NY Tour Extended!
Exhibit's Popularity & American Stupidity Cited

Huge Crowds Extend Darwin Exhibit in New York

from AFP

NEW YORK - A monumental Charles Darwin exhibition in New York has been extended by five months amid an overwhelming public response to what was touted as a scholarly rebuke to opponents of teaching evolution in US schools.

The American Museum of Natural History said Wednesday that nearly 200,000 people had visited "Darwin" since it opened three months ago.

Originally slated to close at the end of this month, the exhibition will now run through August 20, said museum spokesman Joshua Schnakenberg.

"Darwin" had opened amid furious debate in many school districts over the teaching of the 19th century naturalist's evolutionary theory and the first trial on the teaching of the God-centered alternative favoured by many religious groups, "intelligent design," or ID.

That trial, in Pennsylvania, ended in defeat for the evangelical right with the judge in the case decrying the "breathtaking inanity" of the school board in the town of Dover which backed the concept that nature is so complex it must be the work of a superior being.

"Our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom," the judge said in his ruling in December.

An early section of the New York exhibit is devoted to the question, "What is a Theory?" and seeks to clarify the distinction between scientific theories and non-scientific explanations about the origins and diversity of life.

"This is really for the schoolchildren of America. This is the evidence of evolution," said the exhibit's curator, Niles Eldridge.

In a Gallup poll released last October, 53 percent of American adults agreed with the statement that God created humans in their present form exactly the way the Bible describes it. Thirty-one percent stood by the "intelligent design" stance, while only 12 percent said humans have evolved from other forms of life and "God has no part."

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