Why it’s necessary to teach children the evidence of human origins:
SA Museum is Australia’s only capital city museum without an exhibit to explain the origins of humankind — and that’s an incredible indictment on the museum’s ability to inform the public on natural history, according to Brian Morris, president of Atheism SA.
After more than two years of discussion with the museum — and their repeated commitment to mount a display yet to materialise — the association ran a public survey outside the Museum on Saturday, to highlight the problem.
“We have correspondence with the SA Museum’s director going back two and a half years, (1) which gives clear undertakings that the human evolution exhibit — which was removed in 2008 — would be re-installed.”
“The director’s most recent response, back in October 2012, stated that a display would be mounted “within the next few weeks”, but seven months on there’s no sign of any information to publicly explain the origins of humankind,” Mr Morris said.
He added that in the 5 years since removing the original exhibit, thousands of children have visited the Museum and they would have been oblivious to the scientific explanation of how humans evolved over millions of years.
“This information is becoming increasingly important due to the growing rejection of science by more evangelical Christians and creationists who deny all evidence of evolution and say that Darwinism is nothing more than a hoax.”
“It is absolutely stunning that in the 21st century almost 1 in 4 people still believe the Earth is only 6000 years old; that humans lived alongside dinosaurs, and all species today survived a global ‘flood’ on a wooden boat built by Noah.” said Mr Morris.
He pointed to the survey Religion, Morality and Public Policy which polled more than 8000 Australians.
To the question, “were Mankind’s ancestors apes?” only 11% said the statement was “true”, with another 34% saying is was “probably true”. A further 23% said the statement was “probably not true, or definitely not true”. 33% said they were “not sure”.
“The big issue today is that science is being undermined by this 23% who reject evolution — and that should be a matter of alarm to all those engaged in education, especially in all fields of science.”
“Our Museum survey (2) on Saturday showed similar figures, with 21.2% rejecting the idea that “humans evolved, together with other primates, over several million years”. A worrying 43.1% approved of creationism (3) being taught in religious schools.”
“This is the whole reason why SA Museum must lead the way with a comprehensive exhibition on human evolution — over several million years — to offer clear scientific evidence to counter the myths and pseudo-science of creationists,” Mr Morris concluded.
(1) Available: All correspondence with SA Museum’s Director since 1st October 2010.
(2) Sample of 146 respondents but reflects the survey of 8,000. Link above.
(3) “Creationism” referred only to the fossil record of “their” 6000 yo Earth. It did not refers to “God’s creation”.
Contact: Brian Morris, President
Mail: GPO Box 1890, Adelaide SA 5001