The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Creationist museum challenges evolution

Going to let this one 'speak' for itself. I'm not saying nuthin', apart from to say I suspect Ken Ham really is the sort of person who truly believes that museums can make a difference and effect changes in society (see previous post), if a little misguided in his enthusiasm (Damn - I wasn't going to make any snide comments!). ;)

BBC NEWS Programmes From Our Own Correspondent Creationist museum challenges evolution

4 comments:

Ceri said...

Since I suspect the museum is being funded from non-public sources I think they have every right to construct such a museum. To be honest, I do not think that anyone who is not a creationist already will visit it, after all we know the trouble with museum audiences is that only the 'same' people go all the time. So I do not think we need worry about brainwashing... It does raise awkward issues though. What if someone wanted to raise a museum to the Nazis which told a more positive story about the regime? What if a British museum was built which celebrated the Empire? When people are prepared to fly in the face of established belief we are often quick to prove them wrong... but this was the fate of scientists, scholars, philosophers etc who now we accept were 'right.' For the time being at least. I think this is an extremely tricky subject!

Amy said...

It certainly is. I read a lot about Ham and his museum when I was working on the Interpretive Studies stuff last year. He's really on a crusade to get evolution to be accepted as one interpretation, with creationism as just as valid. And to be fair, I think I probably do subscribe to the notion that there are no 'facts', that all science is an interpretation and all knowledge is a social construction. (Which is a little...ummm...unsettling if you think about it!). But I am uncomfortable with the use of the term 'museum' to describe the venture. Whatever we think of the idea and legacy of the modernist museum, 'museum' does carry some authoritative weight with 'lay-people'. We've talked about the dangers with taking licence with history with here before, and it's jolly problematic! Intelligent Design (Creationism's more 'rational' offspring) is a little more persuasive. But T-Rexs mixing with young children? All things considered I'm with Darwin on this one. ;)

Amy said...

And, for that matter, if we are to accept that Darwin's theory of evolution is just that, a theory, an interpretation, why then should we take the book of Genesis as equally authoritative, or more so? The Creationist argument doesn't hold up. I suppose if I had a really strong, unwavering faith I could be more certain, but it's all very contradictory. On one hand they're saying 'be open minded' and 'question accepted belief' (all very admirable), and on the other unswervingly believe the version of events recorded in The Bible.

I could go on and on and on about this one, but going to stop here before I dig myself a hole I can't get out of!

Ceri said...

See the postmodern turn is all well and good but it provides against no protection against moral and ethical issues which do need to be outlined in order for us to have some acceptable boundaries of behaviour. To be honest I am not sure I see the problem of people not believing in evolution. In the scheme of the world evolution has an incredibly short history so in terms of 'enlightenment' if you see creationism as irrational then mankind has been unlightened for a lot longer. Then there is the impact of believing in Creationism... what would that be? There are plenty of beliefs which challenge current orthodoxy and they all exist together, happily or unhappily depending on your perspective. I am not sure I believe in evolution myself, I am more inclined to think it was coincidence over millions of years; yes there was adaptation and element of survival of those who could adapt the 'best' for their environment but I do not believe there is any design or meaning to why we have life here which for me is still implicit within the idea of evolution as it has been taught to me. But then I should really read Darwin as I am sure his message has been greatly distorted over the centuries.

At the end of the day, the more publicity this man gets the more people will be aware of his museum. Why does this happen and not to others, more deserving museums perhaps?