If we seek a “new” religion that valorizes science and exalts human forms of consciousness, the Epic of Evolution fits the bill. But if the goal is to foster ethical sensibilities that encourage reverent and responsible coexistence with the natural world and its myriad beings, the evolutionary epic stands on much shakier ground.
Rabbis that had so much in common, and even served at pulpits just sixteen blocks apart from one another on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, somehow came out on different sides of the evolution debate.
The resurgence of creationism in the 1980s changed the way that biologists debated the tenants of evolutionary theory. In the last two decades of the twentieth century, Stephen Jay Gould debated with other well-known evolutionists over the potentially subversive nature of his unorthodox views.
Thoughts travel. But as they journey around the world, they don’t move effortlessly from place to place. In different venues they mean, and are made to mean, different things. This is because the circulation of ideas isn’t simply about transference; it’s about transformation.
A student asked, “Should we believe in science?” The teacher joked, “Absolutely not,” with a completely straight face. Some students laughed nervously and then the teacher started laughing. “Of course!” he shouted.
The Creation Museum, built in 2007 by Answers in Genesis (AiG) in Kentucky, offers a unique opportunity to examine how the boundaries of scientific authority are negotiated—and to understand where these contestations occur. Examining how creationists secure cultural authority for creation science underscores the continued role of place (physical sites) for social movements seeking to engage the public over issues bound up with science such as evolution.